Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 4, 2013

Rare unchanged team for Clarke


Australia's captain Michael Clarke named an unchanged team for the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, the first time he has been able to do so since the corresponding match last summer against South Africa.

The selectors thought carefully about adding the extra bowling of the allrounder James Faulkner, but ultimately felt that Shane Watson's medium pace would be sufficient as a fifth option, particularly as he has gained in fitness and confidence in his recovery from a hamstring strain since bowling only two overs in the first Test at the Gabba.

Mindful of the mere three days between the end of this Test match and the third at the WACA, the selectors have placed Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby, requesting they be rested by New South Wales and Western Australia from the round of Sheffield Shield matches that precede the Perth Test.

"It's tough on James ... but a nice position to be in to be honest, when the selectors hand you an unchanged team it's positive for where the team's at and how it performed in Brisbane," Clarke said. "I think they looked at the wicket and thought about the extra bowling option with James Faulkner in the team, but having Watto bowl who's back to 100% being fit and capable of bowling in both innings is a real positive for the team.

"Watto's overs we've seen through his career are crucial to this team and on good flat wickets like this looks I think his bowling's going to be very handy, not just for taking wickets but also building pressure from one end."

Clarke himself trained freely on match eve after shrugging off a rolled ankle sustained on Monday, which caused him to miss training two days out from the match. "The ankle feels fine, I think not training yesterday gave me an extra day to make sure I was 100% today," he said. "I feel completely fine, so looking forward to tomorrow."

The decision not to add to the bowling attack for Adelaide will place a heavy load on the pace trio of Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, but as Clarke noted, a team that has only just celebrated a first Test match win since the first week of the year is not in a position to gloat or make too elaborate a change to their XI.

"If you look at our Test record this year it's certainly not something to brag about in terms of wins," Clarke said. "But in saying that I think we take a lot of confidence out of Brisbane. The guys are very excited about there we're at as a group, the type of cricket we're playing, and most importantly the confidence individually, guys are scoring runs and taking wickets.

"There's a lot of positives that have come out of not just Brisbane but the last six to eight months, our results certainly haven't indicated that, but hopefully we showed that in the first Test and the players understand we have to be at our best over long periods of time to get back to where we want to be."

Australia David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon, James Faulkner (12th man)

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khawaja on December 4, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    for adelaide a second spinner is the option that australia has not considered...i think o'keefe is teh only one australia have not tried out...teh endlish too should consider a two spin two fast attack or even a three fast-two spin attack

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2013, 21:34 GMT

    Good call on Faulkner... I think Australia needs to consider Faulkner ONLY if he scores centuries in 1st class cricket. Otherwise he is just a bits and pieces cricketer. This Aus team has a lot of them really. What Aus need right now is batsmen who puts more value on their bat instead of expecting centuries from Clarke.

  • Naveen on December 4, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    Always wonder how Bollinger is not able to make up to Australian squad.

  • Naveen on December 4, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    Michael Clarke is the laziest captain i have followed in last 2 decades.....guy always cites injury and takes a break and then miraculously start playing well one or two days before the match and scores a century(he is definitely gifted) but equally lazy. Its increasingly becoming hard for me to believe that he is injured....A guy can not be injured around the year and get match fit all of a sudden.

  • Bren on December 4, 2013, 21:11 GMT

    Watson might be fit to bowl today - but who knows how many overs he will bowl until he breaks down again. He is a risk - what if he once again pulls up injured after bowling just a few overs in the match. Faulkner the better choice (plus he plays where Watson should - number 8).

  • Don on December 4, 2013, 19:58 GMT

    Doug Bollinger topped the shield bowling figures for a couple of seasons and has a great test average but he ran out of petrol in the last test he played. It looks like he has done a lot of work on his fitness and is now getting good results again. Good luck to him.

  • Jonathan on December 4, 2013, 19:51 GMT

    Bollinger would have been a regular in the side for some time if not for injury. I'm surprised he hasn't been back before - he deserved a pick ahead of the likes of the overhyped Starc and Pattinson. Harris and Siddle are both good. Johnson can be brilliant or can be awful, though I am not convinced that his very round-arm, slingy action is good for him (and, at worst, it can look distinctly jerky.)

  • Dummy4 on December 4, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Bollinger has been the in-form bowler on the Shield scene along with the forgotten man in Steve O'Keefe. Coulter-Nile hasn't set the world on fire though.

  • Cameron on December 4, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    I'm not keen on Bollinger, Coulter-Nile though is a good call.

  • Android on December 4, 2013, 15:11 GMT

    Ryan Johnson Siddler..they should have played one more full time pacer!

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