The Ashes 2013-14 December 2, 2013

All guns blazing for Harris


Ryan Harris has insisted he is fit and ready to deliver his typically wholehearted and skilful pace bowling in the second Ashes Test, flatly rejecting all reports that he had been lined up for rest on what is expected to be a dry and unforgiving drop-in pitch at the recast Adelaide Oval.

Even with reports suggesting that James Faulkner is almost certain to start as a way to better spread the bowling load on a surface unlikely to break up easily, Harris is adamant he will not be the one to make way, as Australia hope to double the 1-0 lead they secured in Brisbane.

It is likely that Faulkner will come in place of Gabba debutant George Bailey, who indicated he would not be perturbed to be dropped after one match because of ground conditions and the national selectors keeping one eye on the third match in Perth. This would leave Harris free to attack England's batsmen once more, a prospect he shows no signs of weariness about.

"I'll be all guns blazing here as well. I'm not going to miss a Test unless I really have to. I'm here to play five," Harris said. "I had the turnaround in England and got through OK. The wickets are a little bit harder here, that's the only difference. I'm feeling good. I had a good break, the extra day from Brisbane helped. All the reports about me resting, Boof hasn't mentioned one word about me resting, which is good. I'm feeling good and ready to go.

"I will be used as normal. I don't think going into a game holding anyone back is what you do. You've got to go in and bowl as if it's your last Test, it doesn't matter how many days in between, you've got to go in 110%. If I was going in only bowling 30, 35 overs I wouldn't play because you can't have one bloke going half-hearted. It puts pressure on your two or three other bowlers. I'm going in as if I'm bowling 50 overs. I've got to make sure whatever I do between Tests I get right and feel good, and I'm confident I can do that."

Even before the arrival of the drop-in pitch, Adelaide had been known as a place where bowlers could prosper only if they adhered rigorously to the demands of the trustworthy pitch and fast outfield. This amounts to the pursuit of a disciplined line and length, not allowing the batsmen to free their arms and feast on the ground's short square boundaries.

Harris agreed the bowlers' margin for error was less in Adelaide than elsewhere, and predicted a more concerted attack on the stumps from Australia's bowlers, whether it be with a conventionally swinging new ball, or by the reverse movement offered by its older descendant later in the innings. He reckoned that England would be more likely to pitch Joe Root in to bat at No. 3 in place of Jonathan Trott, though admitting a personal preference for seeing Ian Bell come in earlier to face the new ball.

"It's a great loss with Trotty not there. It's going to be interesting to see who they put in there. Hopefully it's Bell and we get an earlier chance to get him out, that's what I'm thinking," Harris said. "Whether it's Belly or even Joe Root, they're both good players so whoever it's going to be they have got a big job to do and a big position to fill. We've got to make sure we are ready for whoever it is. It's a big loss with Jonathan not there so we have got to make sure we capitalise."

On the subject of Trott, a batsman who the Australian bowlers managed "get inside the head of", Harris expressed sorrow about his sudden exit from the series following a stress illness.

"Jonathan has gone now and I will be disappointed if anyone brings that up," Harris said. "It's not a nice thing that he's going through and all the boys have said it, we want Jonathan Trott back playing cricket. The whole world does. I know the Australian team does because he's one of their best players and we want to play against their best team.

"He has made a big decision going home and I would love to see him back playing soon. I had some good battles with him over in England and I was looking forward to continuing that here. The England team need him and world cricket needs him, he's a world class player."

Harris also accepted that Australia's angle of attack, nasty and short in Brisbane, needed to be tweaked in Adelaide, responding to the demands of the drop-in, and that the bowlers could not complaining about the toll it is expected to take on their bodies.

"We know we're going to be sore at the end of it," he said. "It's the unknown here again, this new wicket, and it's a challenge of tweaking what we did in Brisbane on those bouncy wickets. We've played enough in these conditions. Melbourne was like this for a few years. It was quite flat. We know what we have to do and what changes we have to make. It's another big challenge as a group to get our head around."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Robert on December 3, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    Of course he wants to play - he's taking wickets and making a huge contribution to winning test matches! The last thing Ryan Harris wants is to be 'rested'. However given his injury record do the Aussies want to risk him flogging himself to death on a lifeless drop-in pitch in Adelaide? Might he not be better served by being held back for bowler-friendly Perth? If he doesn't play in this test it will be interesting to see how MJ gets on without him coming steaming in from the opposite end. Ah! The conundrums of cricket - who'd want to be a selector? As an Eng fan it was gratifying to see RH's comments re the Trotty situation. Hat's off to you Ryan - not only a great bowler but a good sportsman too!

  • Richard on December 3, 2013, 15:44 GMT

    Has anyone stopped to think just how dire things would have been over the last few years for we Aussies without Ryan Harris? When it's all done and dusted he'll have likely played no more than 40 tests for us, perhaps not even 30, and will blend into statistical anonymity, swamped by far lesser players who've had the good fortune to play for longer, but he deserves far, far better. A sub 22 bowling average, 4 1/2 wickets a game, one wicket every 7 1/2 overs, and all from a guy who started late and has been in and out due to injury. I mean folks, those are SERIOUSLY good numbers, we're in Malcolm Marshall/Richard Hadlee territory there. He just gets better every time I see him play, and is, along with Mike Hussey one of our recent players for whom I have only the greatest respect. Ryan, you're a champ mate.

  • Marcio on December 3, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    RednWhiteArmy, "Can someone call an ambulance, please?"

    Why? Is the thought of another pasting making you feel ill already?

  • Marcio on December 3, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    Wefinishthis, Philander #1? You have got to be joking! It took him five innings to get his first wicket in Australia last tour. Just too slow to be a concern to anyone here. Harris can take wickets anywhere.

  • Justin on December 3, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    I just wonder whether this will be as high scoring as everyone expects. There's always a bit of swing early in Adelaide and I recall the English getting some good reverse last time. As soon as swing comes into it, the flatness of the pitch becomes irrelevant. Harris is the only swing bowler fit in Australia. Looking at the current forecast, it looks like the morning session of day one will be overcast if not raining. Remember in 10/11, Australia were 3 down for only a couple of runs batting first in Adelaide. They were 3 down for not a lot against India as well. Australia still have the uncanny ability to lose wickets in large clumps, nothing in Brisbane suggested they've overcome that weakness. I wouldn't mind seeing Clarke lose the toss and bowl at the poms first up. The English top order is unsettled and you feel if you can get them on the back foot early, that's lights out for them.

  • Chris on December 3, 2013, 1:41 GMT

    1 Philander, 2 Steyn, 3 Harris, 4 Daylight, 5 The Rest. I'm just happy that Harris is finally getting the recognition he deserves. He's our best ODI bowler as well. I had always said Harris was our best bowler since he first played for Australia. The stats proved him to be our best, but selectors and many statistically-ignorant viewers all thought Siddle, 'haus and Johnson were better and now with the benefit of hindight, we know that the stats didn't lie. Unfortunately Harris may only have a handful of series left, but the good news is that we have a lot of bowlers who have just as much potential in Bird, Pattinson, Faulkner, Sayers, Sandhu and Cummins. Shame about the omission of O'Keefe. We might not have lost the ashes last time had he played instead of all those imposters like XD, Beer etc. Either way, at least everyone and more importantly the selectors now recognise that Harris is our no.1 and has to be first picked after Clarke.

  • rob on December 3, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Someone mentioned weeks ago that Ryan reminds him of a slightly slower Malcolm Marshall. Stocky and powerful with a front-onish action. Got himself a nagging, skidding trajectory and has the ability to get the ball to kick now and then. Great lines, better lengths and is a thinking bowler who can work a pitch out in no time at all.

    Yeah, I can see that. There are similarities. Marshall was one of the best bowlers I've ever seen and Ryan is not quite that good but he's not very far behind either.

    @Englishfan: "Interesting that he nearly qualified for England and had a British passport. Wouldn't that have been interesting...". Ahem, cough cough. Please, if you take all our toys away, we won't be able to come out and play anymore.

  • Peter on December 2, 2013, 22:32 GMT

    There is everything to like about Harris. he does the job, puts in the yard yards, he has gone through massive disappointments earlier in his cricket career &, although not the most talented bowler going about his heart is huge. His effectiveness in Perth will be entirely reliant on his workload this test. Watson, if selected, needs to put in a lot of overs, a lot, in fact if anyone should break down from extra overs it should be him to allow our strike bowlers to be ready for Pert. We talk about the Aussie quicks, but England bowlers are also under the pump on their back-up capabilities for Perth. Can Bresnan, if selected, do back to back tests? Will the extra workload affect Anderson, he didn't cope so well in England. I think Broad should be fine to back up, but it will be very taxing on their bodies.

  • Nathan on December 2, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    Harris you're a champion. I hope you get a fifer in the first innings and get Bell and Cook out for less than 50.

  • Sean on December 2, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Can someone call an ambulance, please?

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