Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth December 12, 2013

Faulkner fracture puts more focus on Harris

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Australia will wait until Friday morning to make a call on the fitness of Ryan Harris for the third Test at the WACA, but the captain Michael Clarke said he was confident Harris would retain his place in the side.

Australia 's cover for Harris was reduced when allrounder James Faulkner was ruled out of the Test - and perhaps the series - after suffering a fractured thumb while batting in the nets on Thursday against a little-known English-born bowler.

Aaron Onyon, a 26-year-old seamer from Lincolnshire in England who moved to Perth three years ago, was the bowler who broke Faulkner's thumb having been recruited as a net bowler. Onyon, a fast bowler in the Jimmy Ormond mould, represented Nottinghamshire and Northants second XIs up until the end of 2010 but was unable to break into the first-class game.

Faulkner was unlikely to play in any case, but his injury means that should Harris struggle with his ongoing knee problem on Friday morning, Australia would need to look to the standby fast men Doug Bollinger and Nathan Coulter-Nile for a replacement. Harris bowled in the nets on Thursday morning, starting gingerly off a few steps as he tested the knee that has troubled him for several years, before working into a rhythm and coming off his long run.

Harris had David Warner hopping about and his pace looked good, but he appeared to be cautious in his follow-through. Clarke said the Australians would wait until the morning of the match to decide on their team for the WACA Test.

"I don't have a team at this stage," Clarke said after training on Thursday. "We're going to wait until the toss, see how everybody pulls up after training yesterday and today, and [it] gives us another opportunity to have a look at the wicket as well.

"I'm hopeful that everybody will come up. There's the obvious one in Rhino [Harris], he bowled today, so we're going to wait and see how he pulls up, but I'm confident he'll be fine. It gives the selectors another chance to see if the wicket changes at all come tomorrow morning. But it looks like a pretty good wicket to me."

Faulkner, 12th man for the first two Tests of the series, was struck on the right hand while batting against a net bowler and he immediately left the net for checking by team doctor Peter Brukner and physio Alex Kountouris. Faulkner appeared to be in considerable pain and was sent for scans, which confirmed a break.

"James was struck on the right thumb while batting in the nets and was subsequently taken for an x-ray which revealed a fracture of the thumb," Brukner said. "As a result he will not be available for the third Test. His progress will be monitored for a return to playing duty depending on how quickly the injury heals."

The coach Darren Lehmann said on Wednesday that Australia would almost certainly play the spinner Nathan Lyon despite expectations the WACA pitch would offer plenty of bounce and carry for the fast men. The forecast for the first four days of the Test is for temperatures in the high 30s, and a spinner would provide important down-time for the fast bowlers.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on December 13, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Henrik Lovein; I would say bring it on, you can only have two behind square. Your bowlers arent that quick, were good at the short ball and struggle more with the 4th stum line then a bumper barrage. If you read all of Mcdermotts comments he is talking about bowling fuller at Perth but dont be afraid to bowl the odd bouncer. I have seen a lot of wickets from full balls and not every ball is a bouncer. But hey if England want to fall in to the trap of bowling non-stop bouncers we will take the 500 runs in a day on offer. England and Australia both no the rules and if it was a sound tactic you would have thought England would be doing it. There has been nothing unsporting with any of Australias bowling we are playing for our country not some Under 9 team and it should be as competetive as possible, within the rules outlined by the game.

  • on December 13, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    Henrik Mc'Loven - Are you suggesting that Anderson, Broad, Finn, Tremlett and Rankin are fast bowlers? They are fast medium bud, apart from Tremlett who is medium fast. Monty is by far your best bowler and should play ahead of Swann.

  • brisCricFan on December 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz; Doug is bowling well at the moment... I was never convinced with him, I think in this modern age he lacks general fitness and especially at the WACA that is a pre-requisite.

    Nathan Coulter-Nile from what I understand is far from having a stand-out year and already this season he is being outbowled by Hogan both home and away (NCN 9wkts to Hogan 21wkts)... It seemed an odd decision to select those two as replacements... although on his only home appearance Coulter-Nile did get 4 in each innnings... He's 26, hits the pitch hard but not convinced he is at the next step yet...

    So, question is, here and now who is next? Cutting is a possibility - Aus need one of Starc, Cummins, Pattinson or Bird to recover sooner rather than later... we talk about having good stocks, but we are running out of 'fit' good stock.

  • brisCricFan on December 13, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @Harmske; AussiePhoenix beat me to it... comparing Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson is like comparing a ballerina to a bull... Tait got all his pace from a fast lithe whippy action that put that much stress on his body he could only bowl about a dozen decent balls then needed to rest for the day... Mitchell Johnson is an athlete in every sense of the word and strong as an ox... his run up is smooth and unhurried, his action (although not quite perpendicular) is constant (now) and repeatable and is not causing the stress it had over his middle career... in short, he could be bowling this way for at least another 4 years... and then he may slow down... And when Aus played Tait at the WACA, the only reason people cared was to see him bowl fast as we all knew it would likely be his only appearance...

  • on December 13, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    this test will be closer than last 2 tests. England batting showed better application and matt prior has now returned to form. Joe Root showed courage so stick with him at no 3. The problem is the no 6 position. Ben stokes looks promising as a bowler and i think will do well in perth provided he pitches ball up - he does hit the deck hard. I reckon stick with this team as England hasn't really got a good 3rd seamer.Perhaps try rankin and drop monty. For Australia, I believe it will be ryan harris as their key wicket taker in this test.

  • on December 12, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Johnson will trouble England especially if he gets that devastating late swing going; I fancy Ryan Harris ( if he's fully fit) to do damage also

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @Henrik Loven:- England are free to pick whichever team and bowl whichever way they like. It's always been that way. Larwood, Voce, Tyson, Trueman, Snow, Willis, Harmison, Flintoff....just a selection of English bowlers that have come after us before. Sure Henrik, England have never bowled short and at the body before, and if our fields were illegal we'd be no balled for it. So what's the problem, if the Gentleman's code wasn't dead before Bodyline it certainly was was after. It's all covered specifically in the rules now, and we're not breaking them.

  • inefekt on December 12, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    I've seen so many sportsmen and teams over the years that go into big events as outright favourites and who, according to every man and his dog, is already lifting whatever trophy is on offer before the match has even started. This quite often fills said individual or team with bucketloads of self confidence and an attitude that they only have to show up to win. Meanwhile the other player/team gets fired up reading how they're about to be humiliated. Their desire to prove everybody wrong consumes them and invariably they play like they've never played before. Consequently it's the underdog that often comes out on top and everybody else is left dumbstruck. I have a feeling I might be witnessing another of these moments....

  • dunger.bob on December 12, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén: It's a myth that any old fast bowler can simply rock up in Perth and blow teams away. Perth is also a tremendous place to get runs. It basically punishes mediocrity though. It doesn't matter how big, fast or angry a bowler is because unless he's highly skilled he'll get butchered in Perth. Same goes for batting.

    If MJ gets some wickets it won't be because he's bowling fast and short. He'll only get wickets if he pitches it up a bit and gives it a chance to swing, hit the stumps, trap his man LBW or draw a nick. .. the short ball will be used sparingly. You watch.

  • on December 12, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Jonesy2, here's a happy thought for you ahead of the start - England play not only Anderson and Broad, but also Finn, Rankin and Tremlett, all bowling the McDermott way at the body with three close leg-side fielders. Hours and hours of this 6'5" to 6'7" barrage, wonder how the Aussies will hold up? And what WILL their fans such as yourself have to say about unsporting English tactics...

  • Shaggy076 on December 13, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Henrik Lovein; I would say bring it on, you can only have two behind square. Your bowlers arent that quick, were good at the short ball and struggle more with the 4th stum line then a bumper barrage. If you read all of Mcdermotts comments he is talking about bowling fuller at Perth but dont be afraid to bowl the odd bouncer. I have seen a lot of wickets from full balls and not every ball is a bouncer. But hey if England want to fall in to the trap of bowling non-stop bouncers we will take the 500 runs in a day on offer. England and Australia both no the rules and if it was a sound tactic you would have thought England would be doing it. There has been nothing unsporting with any of Australias bowling we are playing for our country not some Under 9 team and it should be as competetive as possible, within the rules outlined by the game.

  • on December 13, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    Henrik Mc'Loven - Are you suggesting that Anderson, Broad, Finn, Tremlett and Rankin are fast bowlers? They are fast medium bud, apart from Tremlett who is medium fast. Monty is by far your best bowler and should play ahead of Swann.

  • brisCricFan on December 13, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz; Doug is bowling well at the moment... I was never convinced with him, I think in this modern age he lacks general fitness and especially at the WACA that is a pre-requisite.

    Nathan Coulter-Nile from what I understand is far from having a stand-out year and already this season he is being outbowled by Hogan both home and away (NCN 9wkts to Hogan 21wkts)... It seemed an odd decision to select those two as replacements... although on his only home appearance Coulter-Nile did get 4 in each innnings... He's 26, hits the pitch hard but not convinced he is at the next step yet...

    So, question is, here and now who is next? Cutting is a possibility - Aus need one of Starc, Cummins, Pattinson or Bird to recover sooner rather than later... we talk about having good stocks, but we are running out of 'fit' good stock.

  • brisCricFan on December 13, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    @Harmske; AussiePhoenix beat me to it... comparing Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson is like comparing a ballerina to a bull... Tait got all his pace from a fast lithe whippy action that put that much stress on his body he could only bowl about a dozen decent balls then needed to rest for the day... Mitchell Johnson is an athlete in every sense of the word and strong as an ox... his run up is smooth and unhurried, his action (although not quite perpendicular) is constant (now) and repeatable and is not causing the stress it had over his middle career... in short, he could be bowling this way for at least another 4 years... and then he may slow down... And when Aus played Tait at the WACA, the only reason people cared was to see him bowl fast as we all knew it would likely be his only appearance...

  • on December 13, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    this test will be closer than last 2 tests. England batting showed better application and matt prior has now returned to form. Joe Root showed courage so stick with him at no 3. The problem is the no 6 position. Ben stokes looks promising as a bowler and i think will do well in perth provided he pitches ball up - he does hit the deck hard. I reckon stick with this team as England hasn't really got a good 3rd seamer.Perhaps try rankin and drop monty. For Australia, I believe it will be ryan harris as their key wicket taker in this test.

  • on December 12, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Johnson will trouble England especially if he gets that devastating late swing going; I fancy Ryan Harris ( if he's fully fit) to do damage also

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @Henrik Loven:- England are free to pick whichever team and bowl whichever way they like. It's always been that way. Larwood, Voce, Tyson, Trueman, Snow, Willis, Harmison, Flintoff....just a selection of English bowlers that have come after us before. Sure Henrik, England have never bowled short and at the body before, and if our fields were illegal we'd be no balled for it. So what's the problem, if the Gentleman's code wasn't dead before Bodyline it certainly was was after. It's all covered specifically in the rules now, and we're not breaking them.

  • inefekt on December 12, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    I've seen so many sportsmen and teams over the years that go into big events as outright favourites and who, according to every man and his dog, is already lifting whatever trophy is on offer before the match has even started. This quite often fills said individual or team with bucketloads of self confidence and an attitude that they only have to show up to win. Meanwhile the other player/team gets fired up reading how they're about to be humiliated. Their desire to prove everybody wrong consumes them and invariably they play like they've never played before. Consequently it's the underdog that often comes out on top and everybody else is left dumbstruck. I have a feeling I might be witnessing another of these moments....

  • dunger.bob on December 12, 2013, 12:38 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén: It's a myth that any old fast bowler can simply rock up in Perth and blow teams away. Perth is also a tremendous place to get runs. It basically punishes mediocrity though. It doesn't matter how big, fast or angry a bowler is because unless he's highly skilled he'll get butchered in Perth. Same goes for batting.

    If MJ gets some wickets it won't be because he's bowling fast and short. He'll only get wickets if he pitches it up a bit and gives it a chance to swing, hit the stumps, trap his man LBW or draw a nick. .. the short ball will be used sparingly. You watch.

  • on December 12, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    Jonesy2, here's a happy thought for you ahead of the start - England play not only Anderson and Broad, but also Finn, Rankin and Tremlett, all bowling the McDermott way at the body with three close leg-side fielders. Hours and hours of this 6'5" to 6'7" barrage, wonder how the Aussies will hold up? And what WILL their fans such as yourself have to say about unsporting English tactics...

  • AussiePhoenix on December 12, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    @ harmske It's not worth comparing historical players unless you know what you're talking about. Tait was very injury prone due to his reckless action. Mitch is very fit, his year out of Test cricket was spent strengthening up, his mentor has been the awesome DK Lillee. His body will be fine, so no escape for England.

  • on December 12, 2013, 11:47 GMT

    Ken is right- Faulkner can't bat top 6, smith is a good young player and deserves a crack. Unlucky Faulkner isn't in the mix now, would of preffered seeing cutting replace Harris if needed

  • Buggsy on December 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    @Prabhakar - Starc is injured, most likely won't be in Test condition until the Ashes is over.

  • macZZZ on December 12, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    ""Posted by Meety on (December 12, 2013, 4:48 GMT)

    Hard to see how England will turn their tour around, but it also is hard to see them be sub-par 3 times in a row. ""

    ... ... ... ... I agree 100% with your indecision :) This test is pivotal to the series. Especially the first day. I don't know what to expect, but I do know what I hope for ... more of the same!!! Can Captain Clarke lead another massacre?

  • CricketMaan on December 12, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    @Meety - England probably has the worst record in all forms of cricket given that they are playing for over 100 years! So to loose 3 tests in a row is not new to them

  • harmske on December 12, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    all the aussie supporters carrying on along the lines of "can't even begin to imagine what johnson will do to the english at the waca" will do well to remember that the test career of one of australia's quickest bowlers came to an abrupt end there a few years ago. that time the talk was all about how tait was going to murder the indian batsman. granted things are a little different right now and yes mitch is in epic form and likely to do well again, but please keep it in your pants will ya.

  • on December 12, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Arthur Galletly on (December 12, 2013, 6:34 GMT) are you living in the past & not actually reading the article you're commenting on mate? Faulkner has fractured his thumb & may even be in doubt for the ODI's, let alone the rest of this series!!

  • stormy16 on December 12, 2013, 10:10 GMT

    Pattinson, Starc, Bollinger and Coulter-Nile would be a decent pace attack and this is now looking a bit like SA whose second string attack baosts of 2 guys who have 5fer's on debut but unable to get a game due to competition. The difference with Aus is that Pattinson and Starc are injured and low and behold, Faulkner now joins them. What is it with Aus's pace bowlers?

  • rickyvoncanterbury on December 12, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    I panicked there for a second... I read on one of the news sites that it was done by a club bowler and I thought the test had started.

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    Faulkner is very unlucky but a replacement for Smith - well thaat's ridiculous. Faulkner is not a top six batsman whereas Smith averages in the mid-40s in first class cricket. If given a reasonable run, each of the Aussies will perform - don't change a winning team!

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    they should bring in ben cutting for faulkner and play him

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Why is Mitchel Starc not in the mix?

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz:- I'd be picking Bollinger.

  • C.Gull on December 12, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Bonehead_maz, I'd take Bolly over NCN but I suspect the selectors would go the other way.

  • Bonehead_maz on December 12, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    IF Harris is tight in the morning (I hope not), would you pick Bollinger or NCN ? (wish I'd seen the net session).

  • AussiePhoenix on December 12, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Feel for Faulkner, unlucky. As for @ Meety "hard to see them be sub-par 3 times in a row". They've only been on par for couple of sessions once or twice in each match. To be competitive for at least 3 whole days in a row, maybe 4, is a massive increase in workload. Is anyone other than Broad and Bell really up for it?

  • Kolpak1989 on December 12, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @Meety, oh I don't know about that. England were sub-par for 16 YEARS in a row not so long ago.

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Hard to see how England will turn their tour around, but it also is hard to see them be sub-par 3 times in a row.

  • CrikiLeaks on December 12, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Lyon must have just about put his shoulder out trying to break Faulkner's hand in the nets ;)

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  • CrikiLeaks on December 12, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    Lyon must have just about put his shoulder out trying to break Faulkner's hand in the nets ;)

  • Meety on December 12, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Hard to see how England will turn their tour around, but it also is hard to see them be sub-par 3 times in a row.

  • Kolpak1989 on December 12, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    @Meety, oh I don't know about that. England were sub-par for 16 YEARS in a row not so long ago.

  • AussiePhoenix on December 12, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Feel for Faulkner, unlucky. As for @ Meety "hard to see them be sub-par 3 times in a row". They've only been on par for couple of sessions once or twice in each match. To be competitive for at least 3 whole days in a row, maybe 4, is a massive increase in workload. Is anyone other than Broad and Bell really up for it?

  • Bonehead_maz on December 12, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    IF Harris is tight in the morning (I hope not), would you pick Bollinger or NCN ? (wish I'd seen the net session).

  • C.Gull on December 12, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Bonehead_maz, I'd take Bolly over NCN but I suspect the selectors would go the other way.

  • Biggus on December 12, 2013, 9:02 GMT

    @Bonehead_maz:- I'd be picking Bollinger.

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Why is Mitchel Starc not in the mix?

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    they should bring in ben cutting for faulkner and play him

  • on December 12, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    Faulkner is very unlucky but a replacement for Smith - well thaat's ridiculous. Faulkner is not a top six batsman whereas Smith averages in the mid-40s in first class cricket. If given a reasonable run, each of the Aussies will perform - don't change a winning team!