The Ashes 2010-11 December 9, 2010

No major shoulder damage for Ryan Harris


Australia's struggling outfit has received some much needed good news after Ryan Harris was cleared of a serious shoulder injury and passed fit for next week's crucial third Ashes Test. Harris suffered the problem during the heavy loss in Adelaide, where he was the team's best bowler, but scans showed there was no significant damage.

Harris' health provides only one answer for the battered hosts, who went 1-0 down with the crushing innings defeat on Tuesday. The squad for the Perth match, which starts next Thursday, is expected to be named on Friday and by then the selectors will have had a week of headaches caused by the damaging bowling and batting issues.

Mitchell Johnson is in Perth training alongside Troy Cooley, the team's bowling coach, in the WACA nets instead of playing for Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield match against Queensland from Friday. The move shows he is almost certain to return after being dropped last week for the first time in his Test career.

Any hopes the selectors had of giving Johnson, who has not been able to click in two Ashes series, an extended break ended when Doug Bollinger and Peter Siddle struggled for consistency as England reached 5 for 620 declared in Adelaide. At least the selectors know that Johnson can deliver random brutal spells, which is something the side needs after taking only six wickets for 1137 runs in the past two innings.

Bollinger's fitness and effectiveness were below par so he is unlikely to make the squad, while Siddle hasn't taken a wicket since he broke through with six on the opening day of the series. Ben Hilfenhaus, who will be valuable bowling into the WACA's Fremantle Doctor breeze, and Johnson are likely to join Harris, who collected 2 for 84 off 29 overs in his third Test.

Harris is capable of moving the ball during most stages of the innings and also operates in the 140kphs, but his body will never allow him to take his position for granted. He has a chronic knee injury that gives him constant pain and his latest problem provides another concern.

However, Alex Kountouris, Australia's physiotherapist, said Harris' shoulder injury was minor. "He was able to bowl during the game unrestricted and scans have cleared him of any significant damage," Kountouris said.

Ricky Ponting met with Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, after the match on Tuesday to discuss the way forward and senior Cricket Australia officials have also been in talks as the hosts attempt to prevent a first Ashes loss at home since 1986-87. The selectors are expected to name a 13-man squad, as they did for the opening two matches, and must decide whether to tinker or deliver wholesale changes.

There will be at least one alteration, with Simon Katich's serious heel injury leaving a spot for either Phillip Hughes or Usman Khawaja. The spin position also needs resolving after Xavier Doherty's ineffective performances over the first two Tests.

Nathan Hauritz is in form with the bat - he scored 146 as a nightwatchman for New South Wales this week - but needs some wickets in the second innings to show he is ready for a recall. Steven Smith, the legspinning allrounder, is another contender and the confusion over the slow bowling ranks will probably earn a reprieve for the No.6 Marcus North, who doubles as the part-time offspinner.

Possible squad Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin (wk), Steven Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nigel on December 10, 2010, 2:58 GMT

    Team for 3rd Ashes test:

    Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, Hodge, Haddin, Smith, Johnson, Harris, Bollinger

  • Chris on December 10, 2010, 1:40 GMT

    We gotta get Watto down the order so we can get more overs out of him. Hussey seems to have rediscovered his game (although 2 years was much too long to wait, he shoulda been dumped 12 months ago) so push him up to open as he's also an experienced opener for his state. So, something like... Hughes, M.Hussey, Ponting, Clarke, Watson, D.Hussey, Haddin, Smith, Harris, Cameron, Siddle

  • Ankur on December 10, 2010, 0:57 GMT

    S.MARSH has to be ahead of HUGHES, he plays at the WACA and has been in form this summer ... MITCH for BOLLINGER ... SMITH for DOHERTY ... D.HUSSEY for NORTH cause he is rubbish against spin and his bowling is of no use, DAVID HUSSEY can bowl better ...

  • Weir on December 9, 2010, 23:38 GMT

    Johnson is a dud, if they select this guy then the series is over.

  • Mahmood on December 9, 2010, 22:44 GMT

    Australian selectors should realise by now that almost all the english batsmen are in form (against a relatively poor Oz bowling), whereas Oz batsmen are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. North and Clark (and maybe Pointing as well) should take rest and players like Smith and Khawaja should be given a chance..

  • Craig on December 9, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    Hughes, Watson, Hodge, M Hussey, D Hussey, Haddin, Smith, Johnson, Hauritz, Lee, Harris... Cam White also in the squad..... This squad might look hilarious when you look at it at first.. but just think about it.... its pretty decent.

  • Dummy4 on December 9, 2010, 21:51 GMT

    Anyone considered David Hussey might be an ideal replacement for Marcus North? Like for like and deserves a go at least.

  • Timothy on December 9, 2010, 20:36 GMT

    north must go!! replace him with smith, it´ll improve our batting and bowling. you can´t play 4 bowlers who are hopeless with the bat, the tail needs to wag a bit. bring back mitch and haurtiz

    1. hughes 2. wato 3. ponting 4. clarke 5. hussey 6. haddin 7. smith 8. mitch 9. hauritz 10. harris 11. hilf

  • Giles on December 9, 2010, 19:55 GMT

    I love the fact that all the 'pommie bashers' that were writing on here, have no turned in on their own team, wonderful for the English fans to sit and read this site and watch the public turn on their own team. yyeeeeee hhhaaa !

  • John on December 9, 2010, 19:54 GMT

    The boys are playing like rubbish at the moment, however, all it takes is one good session, - a big partnership or a fine spell of bowling, to get things back on track. I highly doubt that we will be able to win the Ashes from this position, but we SHOULD be able to blood some youngsters for the future and at least be competitive for the rest of the series. It's great that Hughes will (should) be coming in, I'd like to see 2 of Steve Smith/Steve O'keefe/Khawaja in the side as well. It's up to the selectors to stop being conservative and cautious and look to the future, when the likes of Ponting/Katich/Hussey retire.

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