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October 25, 2008
Stuart Clark will be desperately aiming to prove his fitness in the next couple of days as he aims to avoid becoming the third Australian squad member sent home due to injury. Clark missed the second Test in Mohali due to an elbow problem and with four days until the third match in Delhi, he knows he must soon demonstrate he is over the niggle.
"I'm confident of getting through," Clark told the Weekend Australian. "But if I don't I think I'll be going home."
From their starting squad Australia have already farewelled Bryce McGain, who has had shoulder surgery, and Phil Jaques, who has had an operation on his back. The loss of Clark would be an enormous blow for an attack lacking experience but Tim Nielsen, the coach, said it was important not to play Clark unless he was 100% fit.
"The real test will be not only when he comes back and not only bowls flat out, but he bowls two spells or he fronts up two days in a row and sees how it has recovered," Nielsen told AAP. "These little niggly injuries that need some help are always a bit of concern because you have to give them time to rest."
Peter Siddle made his Test debut when Clark was deemed unfit for Mohali and the group has one more backup fast man, Doug Bollinger. Should Clark be sent home the selectors might be tempted to fly in Shaun Tait, whose express speed has been causing domestic batsmen trouble in the past couple of weeks, although Queensland's Ashley Noffke would be a less risky alternative.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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