The Investec Ashes 2013 August 13, 2013

Caution surrounds Harris' Oval prospects

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Ryan Harris is no certainty to play in the final Investec Ashes Test at The Oval as Australia's selectors consider his long-term importance ahead of the home Ashes series later this year. Harris was outstanding at Chester-le-Street, where his seven-wicket haul in the second innings and nine for the match gave Australia a victory chance that was not grasped by the batsmen, but the 47 overs he bowled was the most he has ever sent down in a Test.

His relentless speed, accuracy and aggression caused problems for England's batsmen and despite having not played in the first Test at Trent Bridge, Harris is now Australia's leading wicket taker in the series with 20 victims at 19.25 and is second only to Graeme Swann from either side. But his injury history - this is the first time he has ever made it through three consecutive Tests unscathed - will be considered by the selectors in the lead-up to The Oval.

"We would love him to play," coach Darren Lehmann said. "He is exceptional. The extra day would be good because there's only a week before the next game. To be perfectly honest, we will be extra careful with him. We have to make sure he is right come the next Test series.

"He is so valuable to us, as he showed in the past few games. We would have loved to have played him in the first Test but he wasn't quite right. He has shown his value since then. If he is in any doubt of getting through he won't play."

Harris is without question an impact bowler, the kind of man who can run through a batting line-up, and he has collected 67 wickets at 22.32 in his 15 Test appearances. Harris has missed far more Tests than he has played but has still managed to bustle his way into the top ten of the ICC Test bowling rankings, sitting at No.7, behind Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Rangana Herath, Saeed Ajmal, Peter Siddle and Swann.

"He's top three or four I reckon," Lehmann said. "But that's a totally biased opinion isn't it, I've had him for years [as coach of Queensland]. I just reckon he's outstanding in what he gives to the team and how he bowls and he just gets good players out, doesn't he? The wickets he's got have been high end all series. He's blown England away a few times."

Should Australia rest Harris the logical replacement would be Mitchell Starc, who has bowled well in patches during this series, including a searching spell of reverse swing at Old Trafford. Starc made way for Jackson Bird at Chester-le-Street and while Bird also bowled well at times, swinging the ball away and building pressure, he also lacked the pace to offer the kind of threat posed by Harris.

"I thought he was good in patches," Lehmann said of Bird. "He was really good at certain stages of the game and then bowled poorly in other patches and he knows that. He's a great young kid. Hopefully he'll get his chance to bowl again at The Oval and impress again."

The make-up of Australia's attack will also depend on the fitness of Shane Watson, who has developed into their first-change option this series due to his accuracy and economy. The Australians believe they need a fifth bowler and after Watson left the field halfway through one of his overs on Sunday with pain in his right hip/groin region, there remains uncertainty over whether he will be able to bowl at The Oval.

If Watson is unable to bowl it would be difficult for him to keep his place as a batsman only, despite his impressive first-innings 68 at Chester-le-Street. One possibility would be to include James Faulkner or Ashton Agar as a bowling allrounder at No.7 and move Brad Haddin up to No.6, but such decisions will not be considered until Australia find out more about the injury to Watson, who fielded and batted after suffering the pain.

"I'll sum that up with the medical staff in the next couple of days," Lehmann said. "I hope he's bowling. That's what he's picked in the side to do, bat and bowl. And I thought he bowled really well in the first innings and batted well. But we need him bowling. We like to have five bowlers. England can have four at the moment because we're not batting well enough at the moment and that's a simple fact of life.

"He'd be a chance [to play as a batsman only] because he played very well but he's got to value add and he value adds when he's bowling. So we'll just have to sit down and see how he goes."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 14, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Ryan Harris was absolutely phenomenal in the 4th test,one of the best spells of hostile fast bowling in recent times. He is seriously gifted as a fast bowler but unfortunately his body does not support him. I am personally very happy for him. Hopefully his body holds up for another 2-3 years. I would love to see him play for the Aussies in the ODI's also.

  • landl47 on August 13, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Harris was brilliant in the 4th test. It's been a long time since I saw such a sustained spell of really hostile bowling- only Steyn is in the same class and even from him I haven't seen the ferocity that Harris put into his spells of leg theory. If only he wasn't 33 (34 in October) and had a body that would hold up.

    Aus is only playing for pride in the 5th test. They might be better served to avoid risking Harris. I know one group of people that agrees with me- the England batsmen!

  • Vindaliew on August 15, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    If Harris is not at 100% there's no reason to risk him. He's a great bowler, but bowling has been Australia's strength in this series, and there's no shortage of bowlers on the benches who can make a good game out of it. With the series already lost it would be a good time to let the other fringe bowlers have a go and bowl their heart out... and just pray that the batsmen deliver.

    I support England but would dearly love to see a 100%-fit Harris ready to go for the return series - there's something about big-hearted, never-say-die gladiators that stirs the hearts of all who watch.

  • on August 15, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Surely you can't ask Harris to carry the bowling again, what's the difference between no wins in 8 or 9 tests....nothing. Might as well rest Siddle as well, he's been phenomenal as well and deserves to be told he's playing back in Australia and rested for a test. Bring in the young guns so they can either fail or create fear in the English lineup. There is zero point in testing Harris body for a fourth test, he's been the bowler of the Series (and I'm English!). This maybe the last chance for Starc and Bird before Cummins and Pattinson return for the reverse series and this realy would create a scenario where someone can create an opportunity for themselves.

  • jmcilhinney on August 15, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    @CamS71 on (August 14, 2013, 9:43 GMT), I think it's safe to say that Milhouse79 was being sarcastic. He was making fun of some of the exaggerated claims a few Aussie fans have made about their pace attack. Australia obviously have a fair number of talented young fast bowlers but even Cummins (who is not injured at the moment) only gets the odd ball over 150kph and he appears to be the fastest. Some have talked about their depth as though there are several bowlers who are ready to step in and dominate batting lineups despite having played little or no Test cricket. Jackson Bird is a fine example. He's obviously got some talent but looked pretty ordinary in Durham. Everyone can have an off game - Anderson also didn't look great - but just because you can rattle off a list of names of bowlers who've done well in a domestic competition that everyone says has weak batting at the moment doesn't mean that you have a dozen front-line Test speedsters.

  • jmcilhinney on August 15, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    @liz1558 on (August 14, 2013, 11:07 GMT), the teams have to be announced before the toss.

  • S.Jagernath on August 14, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    An amazing bowler has had such a tough life in cricket.Would love to watch him play injury free for the next few years.Very few bowlers are as persistent & consistently brilliant,especially in good batting conditions.

  • hhillbumper on August 14, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    He has bowled really well in this series and bowls a good line with pace.It is a shame he has been injured so much and reminds me of Shane Bond.As for Cummins and Pattinson they are both injured once more so wonder what will happen next

  • SevereCritic on August 14, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Fly in Cummins or Hazlewood maybe. Or Sayers. Rest Harris. He will be very valuable in the return series and needs to be protected. Also Aussie bowlers are not the ones playing for pride at the Oval. They have done their job in the series. The batsmen have let them down and need to show up with a redeeming performance at the Oval.

  • on August 14, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Slightly off topic but what exactly was wrong with Mitchell Starc? Why did he deserve dropping? 8 wickets @27 in 2 tests was surely OK?

  • on August 14, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Ryan Harris was absolutely phenomenal in the 4th test,one of the best spells of hostile fast bowling in recent times. He is seriously gifted as a fast bowler but unfortunately his body does not support him. I am personally very happy for him. Hopefully his body holds up for another 2-3 years. I would love to see him play for the Aussies in the ODI's also.

  • landl47 on August 13, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Harris was brilliant in the 4th test. It's been a long time since I saw such a sustained spell of really hostile bowling- only Steyn is in the same class and even from him I haven't seen the ferocity that Harris put into his spells of leg theory. If only he wasn't 33 (34 in October) and had a body that would hold up.

    Aus is only playing for pride in the 5th test. They might be better served to avoid risking Harris. I know one group of people that agrees with me- the England batsmen!

  • Vindaliew on August 15, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    If Harris is not at 100% there's no reason to risk him. He's a great bowler, but bowling has been Australia's strength in this series, and there's no shortage of bowlers on the benches who can make a good game out of it. With the series already lost it would be a good time to let the other fringe bowlers have a go and bowl their heart out... and just pray that the batsmen deliver.

    I support England but would dearly love to see a 100%-fit Harris ready to go for the return series - there's something about big-hearted, never-say-die gladiators that stirs the hearts of all who watch.

  • on August 15, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    Surely you can't ask Harris to carry the bowling again, what's the difference between no wins in 8 or 9 tests....nothing. Might as well rest Siddle as well, he's been phenomenal as well and deserves to be told he's playing back in Australia and rested for a test. Bring in the young guns so they can either fail or create fear in the English lineup. There is zero point in testing Harris body for a fourth test, he's been the bowler of the Series (and I'm English!). This maybe the last chance for Starc and Bird before Cummins and Pattinson return for the reverse series and this realy would create a scenario where someone can create an opportunity for themselves.

  • jmcilhinney on August 15, 2013, 1:14 GMT

    @CamS71 on (August 14, 2013, 9:43 GMT), I think it's safe to say that Milhouse79 was being sarcastic. He was making fun of some of the exaggerated claims a few Aussie fans have made about their pace attack. Australia obviously have a fair number of talented young fast bowlers but even Cummins (who is not injured at the moment) only gets the odd ball over 150kph and he appears to be the fastest. Some have talked about their depth as though there are several bowlers who are ready to step in and dominate batting lineups despite having played little or no Test cricket. Jackson Bird is a fine example. He's obviously got some talent but looked pretty ordinary in Durham. Everyone can have an off game - Anderson also didn't look great - but just because you can rattle off a list of names of bowlers who've done well in a domestic competition that everyone says has weak batting at the moment doesn't mean that you have a dozen front-line Test speedsters.

  • jmcilhinney on August 15, 2013, 1:05 GMT

    @liz1558 on (August 14, 2013, 11:07 GMT), the teams have to be announced before the toss.

  • S.Jagernath on August 14, 2013, 22:54 GMT

    An amazing bowler has had such a tough life in cricket.Would love to watch him play injury free for the next few years.Very few bowlers are as persistent & consistently brilliant,especially in good batting conditions.

  • hhillbumper on August 14, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    He has bowled really well in this series and bowls a good line with pace.It is a shame he has been injured so much and reminds me of Shane Bond.As for Cummins and Pattinson they are both injured once more so wonder what will happen next

  • SevereCritic on August 14, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Fly in Cummins or Hazlewood maybe. Or Sayers. Rest Harris. He will be very valuable in the return series and needs to be protected. Also Aussie bowlers are not the ones playing for pride at the Oval. They have done their job in the series. The batsmen have let them down and need to show up with a redeeming performance at the Oval.

  • on August 14, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    Slightly off topic but what exactly was wrong with Mitchell Starc? Why did he deserve dropping? 8 wickets @27 in 2 tests was surely OK?

  • liz1558 on August 14, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    If England win the toss and bat, there's a good chance that Harris won't play. In that event, there's every chance that England's top three will make their first significant contribution.

  • Dazako on August 14, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    @Simon Dixon claiming Ryan Haris's injury problems are due to his wieght. Although I agree with you that he is packing a few extra kgs, I dont think that this is the reason for his injuries. I have seen him a bit lighter eg Bresnans body shape and he still broke down (Bresnan himself was injured not that long ago). I think the extra padding might actually be helping him prevent soft tissue injury, but will effect his cardio vascular. In the last 3 games he has bowled more overs in a short time than in any time in his career and at this point he is available to play a 4th straight match. Personally I'd play him.

  • PanGlupek on August 14, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Aus won't want to lose this series 4-0 (and don't deserve to, really), and Harris has been comfortably their best bowler, even though all the quicks have had their moments. I'd imagine they'd want to pick him, even if they are forced to use him in short bursts, but I suppose that might depend if Watson is fit enough to bowl a good 15-20 overs per innings (and they could use Smith more, the Oval is likely to turn).

    Wouldn't be surprised if both sides make changes though. Harris & Watson both not sure of being fit for Aus, Anderson could probably do with a rest for England, plus they could be well-advised to pick another spinner.

  • CamS71 on August 14, 2013, 9:43 GMT

    @Milhouse79 ("It doesn't matter if Rhino isn't fit as the Aussies have another 13 guys who can bowl over 150 clicks. They are the greatest pace squad ever assembled")

    Yes it does matter; no they don't; & are you joking (which I think you maybe). - Harris is a class obove, so if Aussie want the game he should play. However if they want a better shout in the winter, they should rest him. - They have one or two who can reached 150 kph, but they're (Pattinson & Cummins) injured. Broad was the fastest in this Test. - Dude, currently this pace squad isn't even the best playing (SA easily), let alone ever. Maybe you should engage in some research & look at the Windies 1975 to 1990-ish for the greatest pace squads ever assembled. They had several.

  • ravi_hari on August 14, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    Whether Harris is fit or not he should be rested and probably sent back to undergo fitness training to be ready for the long cricketing season back home. It does not matter you loose 3-0 or 4-0 or 3-1. Let Harris rest and give the fringe players a go. An attack of Siddle, Starc, Faulkner, Lyon and Watson would be good enough. If Watson is ruled out then retain Bird. I think the major worry for Aussies is the batting lineup. I think they should dump Khawaja for ever. He did nothing in the few tests he played and Hughes and Cowan have done much better. Let one of them play. Also if you are not using his bowling replace Smith with Wade. I think Wade can be most handy at No.5 or 6 batsman. Watson if fit should stick to No.6 for a while. Clarke can move one step down and allow Wade bat at 4. However, that would mean 4 lefties at the top! It could suit well as 4 righties will follow to tackle Swann. Starc will give the tail a boost and in a close contest that could be crucial. Way to go Aus.

  • on August 14, 2013, 8:49 GMT

    I've got a lot of time for Harris and have enjoyed seeing him this series. Some players are just unlucky with injuries but I think he and the Australian management also have to accept some responsibility for his injury record - the guy is not fit, he looks at least half a stone overweight (and no its not just his stocky build - look at Bresnan to see what a fit, broad shoulder, "stocky" athlete actually looks like when in shape). That extra timber has to contribute to his injuries. Furthermore, to his credit, he doesn't bowl within himself, he's always right in the red-zone, increasing the risk of injury as he constantly pushes the limits of his body. I do feel for him and his injuries, but test cricket is, and always has been, a marathon not a sprint. To perform over a series and a career players (especially bowlers) need to play just fractionally within the limits of their bodies, or they'll break down. If Harris lost some weight and throttled back just a fraction he'd play more.

  • Jaffa79 on August 14, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    It doesn't matter if Rhino isn't fit as the Aussies have another 13 guys who can bowl over 150 clicks. They are the greatest pace squad ever assembled.

  • vikarnav on August 14, 2013, 7:44 GMT

    James Faulkner impressed all in tyhe IPL...he is the man!!

  • Ducky610 on August 14, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    I'm still scratching my head as how Starc was dropped twice... "in patches" you say? I say 8 wickets @27 with an economy of 2.71 and 78 runs @26 batting at 9 in two tests ain't bat all... He bowls the odd random ball but its not effecting his figures in any significant way so whats the problem?

  • Nutcutlet on August 14, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    Oz has had selection problems since the big players retired. Michael Hussey would have been invaluable for this series, just to bring stability to the batting. It is the presence of a senior batsman who is well established in the team with heaps of Test experience that's missing. M Clarke can't be that man, because he's had his work cut out for him being captain - a post that is all but overwhelming, given the challenges presented by his charges. I wonder whether the one bat who has not let Oz down, Chris Rogers, shouldn't become Clarke's vice. He brings sanity, great experience & an ego that's in keeping with being a team player (i.e.a measure of professional pride in his own performance, when merited). Re Harris, he needs to be given a rest at the Oval to be ready for the home series. Ultimately, Oz selection has to sort itself out. Good men who can rise to the occasion, not buckle under pressure. I always thought Ozzies knew about these things. What happened to the Gallipoli spirit?

  • on August 14, 2013, 6:53 GMT

    landl47 -

    Yes, as an England fan I'd have mixed feelings about him missing the oval. After all, if he misses the Oval he might not get injured and play in the return series..

    I've been amazed with the treatment of Starc. Played well in first test. Dropped. Played well in third test. Dropped. I assume that if he gets a century and takes 15 wickets at the Oval they'll ban him for life.

    They really should go all out for youth at the Oval. Harris needs keeping safe.. Haddin won't be around much longer. Watson is crocked. Pick an under-25 team plus Clarke and tell them to go for it..

  • brittop on August 14, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    @Kirstenfan: It is relevant that Harris can't get onto the field consistently. He is a good bowler, but if he can't complete a series, it means chopping and changing the bowling attack. It also seems to mean that Aus have to have a fifth bowler in case he can't get through a game, so they can't improve the batting which is their problem.

  • dashe on August 14, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    Basically Ryan Harris is not going to play for much longer. While he is 33 and fit Australia need to play him in every possible test that he is fit and available for selection. Without Rhino in the 4th test Australia would have been hammered. If they want some momentum going into the home series its not going to come from being absoloutely hammered in the 5th test next week. Rhino also has the best part of 2 months to get right for the Gabba. I think the points I have made are valid.

  • dmat on August 14, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    Malx. Tait!!! Are you serious? He can't bowl more than 4 overs on the trot - even then, you'd be lucky if there was two half decent balls and over. He is way past his best and his best was never good enough. Five test wickets at 60 with an economy rate of almost 4.5. I've read some stupid comments on this site but this would be the worst.

  • on August 14, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    he's probably the only bowler of the same class as Steyn. Harris is a fantastic bowler & he's obviously better than Anderson. he's already performed better than any other bowler this series in only 3 tests. that goes to show the fantastic bowler he is. if only he wasn't 34 & his body could hold up. he'll go down in history as 1 really unlucky cricketer who was hindered by injury

  • jmcilhinney on August 14, 2013, 1:28 GMT

    @DustyBin on (August 13, 2013, 13:26 GMT), it's not a case of Harris possibly being tired after the last Test of this series. It's the possibility of his picking up a genuine injury that keeps him out for months. Even if he is fit to play in the return series, if he's been out until just before due to injury then he will almost certainly not be bowling at his best. Maybe he's turned a corner fitness-wise but, while young players like Pattinson and Cummins may grow out of their injury-pronedness, Harris' age suggests that he's not going to suddenly become a man of steel.

  • Cricket_theBestGame on August 13, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    why aren't aussies trying warner as a partnership breaker? i think he can do the job pretty well. with all the controversy with him and root, poms would love to smash him around and that would create an opportunity for him to take wickets !

    harris must play in the last test..he should be used in short burst of spells. maybe 5 or 6 at max. harris is more likely to breakdown in aus than in eng. with hard surfaces in aus his knees and ankles could well give way. so play him in the last test!

  • markatnotts on August 13, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Agreed, as a Pom, Harris is class. Fantastic record, because of his checkered fitness has not had a good run, or been tested in Asia. I am sure he would do well there. Do feel for him. And yes Steyn is the worlds best with Jimmy a way behind. So many people on here though point purely at averages for quicks as a way of having a whinge at Jimmy, forgetting he has played in Asia and has improved over time. Then he is compared unfavorably to bowlers like Siddle and Philander who haven't done anything over there.

  • russell1967 on August 13, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    The series in Australia will probably be Harris' last Ashes.. his body is too fragile for him to go on past 35. All the young fast bowlers seem to have injury problems too.. Cummins, Pattinson. At the Oval all the English batsmen need to do is see Harris off and score off the pies being served up by Bird, Starc or whoever.

    As for the stick Jimmy A has been getting in this test, when he was taking all the wickets at TB that "showed he was our only decent bowler" and now Broad steps up and Jimmy is "useless" again. Keep your fatuous, incorrect opinions consistent please.

    Oh, by the way... 3-0.... You haven't won one yet.

  • Chris_P on August 13, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Rhino's heart is huge, this guy is a real warrior. He needs to be used as a shock bowler & for that to happen, a fifth bowler has to be there to take the grunt work. The process is simple, if Watson can't bowl, & they don;t use a 5th bowler, Harris will be preserved.

  • aracer on August 13, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Interesting comment on Bresnan's batting, 2MG. I do still wonder if he actually came in as a nightwatchman in the 2nd innings - certainly on current batting form he deserves the number 7 spot ahead of Prior. His batting certainly isn't the finished article, but it appears he might merit a place in the team as an all rounder in the future if he continues to work on it. Of course he does also merit his place in the team as a bowler on current form, but it would be nice to also have space for a bowler who was more consistently attacking, just in case Broad doesn't pick Anderson's off match to fire next time.

  • tcherian on August 13, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Haddins comeback has been a disaster. Then the aussies have too mnay passengers-Khawja, Smith, Watson-all there have been worse or bad with one performance or two in the whole series. Bowling is not too bad -once Agar was rested and Harris was back. If Clarke fails Aussies lose as other than Rogers to an extent every other batter have failed

  • poms_have_short_memories on August 13, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    I doubt that Harris will be risked at the oval, he will be far too important for the return series in Australia. Hopefully on the bouncier tracks our batsmen will enjoy the opportunity to play back foot cricket, not on these dead, indian type wickets, and before FFL reminds us of 2010/11, I think our bowlers have realised that it isn't clever to bowl short and wide, as well as on the batsmens legs as they did to England in 2010/11. Pattinson, Siddle, Starc, Harris as well as Lyon/Ahmed on our pitches will definitely be a daunting prospect.

  • Malx on August 13, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    Boof wouldn't know what day it is. Clarke & him are always laughing. Get nasty you guys !!! There's nothing wrong with the bowlers but Harris needs help. Bird & Siddle were poor, too short & wide. I wish Tait would come in & hit a few of their batsmen. Australia need a nasty man. Khawaja, Smith , Watson & Haddin were a disgrace. No guts. Let's get rid of these old selectors , no brains.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 13, 2013, 15:28 GMT

    Harris will have a big say what happens in the return series if he stays fit. I wish the bloke all the best, he is a top player, but I can see why Boof wouldn't want to risk him as part of a 4 man bowling unit.

    England have played 4 bowlers against better batting sides than this Australian team. The key is that Swann is an aggressive spinner who can take wickets in the 1st innings. It does require a safety-first selection policy with the seamers though, which Bresnan continues to benefit from.

    England may want more cover when touring. Patel went to India as an batting allrounder and he played OK without really looking like taking wickets. Bopara fills in a bit like Collingwood and may be considered for the tour down under.

    It is interesting that England keep pushing Bresnan up the order. It's clear that he's more than just a nightwatchman. Nothing that anybody in the England set up has said indicates that they are auditioning him for the number 7 spot, but I just wonder.

  • Kirstenfan on August 13, 2013, 15:24 GMT

    Front-foot-lunge - I see what you're doing here, you're trying to belittle Harris. Much better to play 85 tests and average over 30, like, ummm, Jimmy Anderson isn't it? Great test Jimbo had again, I love it when people claim he is 'the world's best'. Yes, the world's best prima donna for sure. Dale Steyn and Philander are the only pace bowlers ahead of Harris

  • Tvaranitra on August 13, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    We can put him in the same class like Allan Donald and Sten. Remember Allan Donald softened up Steve and Mark Waugh with the second new ball in a test match even though Mark Waugh was nearing his century. Hopefully Ryan Harris would be injury free and see some fantastic bowling in the coming years.

  • MaruthuDelft on August 13, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Whatever the number of tests he is going to play Ryan Harris is one of the greatest bowlers in the history to have graced the game. When he bowls always there is a big chance of dismissal. Now you can put bowlers like Anderson into context when bowlers like Harris are around.

  • DustyBin on August 13, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    why would playing Harris next week mean he will be crocked or a lesser player 3 months later? isn't that enough recovery time? Boof has to pick his best bowler. The arguments for England resting Anderson @ the Oval is that Jimmy is not firing..Ryan clearly is & has earned the chance to play again. Lehmann is on to something when he says that 5 bowlers are ideal in test cricket. England could be found out in hot dry conditions in Aus, if they stick with (the same) 4, who've looked flat at times in this unusually hot English summer. At some point Stokes should try out for the no. 6 spot. Bairstow perhaps will be no. 7 & keeper when Prior retires, & he isn't quite making no. 6 his own right now.

  • on August 13, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Australia better manage his workload. He'll be 34 by the time the first Ashes test takes place in Brisbane. Plus can he really play all 5 tests? He's made it in 3 so far. It would also be his last Ashes series in Australia as well as in England as the next time Australia tours he'll be 37, so it is good he is making his mark now.

  • Ninety9 on August 13, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    "England can have four at the moment because we're not batting well enough at the moment and that's a simple fact of life." That's just gold from Lehmann. Hilariously sad.

  • pratit on August 13, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Although Aussies are losing at the moment, I like the fact that they are still persisting with 5 bowlers. Just shows the aggressive mindset they have. Truth is unless you have 3 world-class bowlers like Aussies had in their heyday(McGrath, Warne, Gillespie) it is very difficult to play with 4 bowlers unless you are content with a draw. At the moment, batting sides of most teams in the world are weak and so England are getting by with 4 bowlers. But a team looks much more balanced when there is an all-rounder to balance the workload.

  • Bockee on August 13, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    There's no way Watson should play if he can't bowl.

  • on August 13, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Now's the perfect chance to try out Faulkner - why risk Watson & Harris for this Test. I'm all for finishing on a high (a win or morale-boosting draw) & not going down 4-0, but this is an opportunity to build for the home series - make sure Harris & Watson are properly fit & have a good build up of first-class cricket to the 1st Test. Also blooding Faulkner will show him what the next level is like and will come in handy back in Aus.

    As for the batting, let these guys play & show some faith in them for a change - too often we've been axing players after only a few Tests (Khawaja, Hughes, Cowen most recently - read CWB's blog for more examples in Aus' past), although I must admit I'm tempted to swap Khawaja for Hughes!

    Aus XI: Warner, Rodgers, Hughes/Clarke, Clarke/Khawaja, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 13, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    James Faulkner and Ashton Agar it is then. Siddle, Bird and Lyon have been bowling well; surely Faulkner, Agar, Smith, Clarke, Warner... (rest of team really) can make up the rest of the overs. If they bat in the correct order for a change with Clarke at 5 and Smith or Hughes at 4, this could actually be the strongest team (barring Harris) Aus. have fielded all series! Better late than never...

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 13, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    A very good bowler is Harris but let's see how he's doing after 40-50 tests, not just the meager 15 he has played, which is too low a number to judge anyone by.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 13, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    A very good bowler is Harris but let's see how he's doing after 40-50 tests, not just the meager 15 he has played, which is too low a number to judge anyone by.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 13, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    James Faulkner and Ashton Agar it is then. Siddle, Bird and Lyon have been bowling well; surely Faulkner, Agar, Smith, Clarke, Warner... (rest of team really) can make up the rest of the overs. If they bat in the correct order for a change with Clarke at 5 and Smith or Hughes at 4, this could actually be the strongest team (barring Harris) Aus. have fielded all series! Better late than never...

  • on August 13, 2013, 12:06 GMT

    Now's the perfect chance to try out Faulkner - why risk Watson & Harris for this Test. I'm all for finishing on a high (a win or morale-boosting draw) & not going down 4-0, but this is an opportunity to build for the home series - make sure Harris & Watson are properly fit & have a good build up of first-class cricket to the 1st Test. Also blooding Faulkner will show him what the next level is like and will come in handy back in Aus.

    As for the batting, let these guys play & show some faith in them for a change - too often we've been axing players after only a few Tests (Khawaja, Hughes, Cowen most recently - read CWB's blog for more examples in Aus' past), although I must admit I'm tempted to swap Khawaja for Hughes!

    Aus XI: Warner, Rodgers, Hughes/Clarke, Clarke/Khawaja, Smith, Haddin, Faulkner, Starc, Siddle, Lyon, Bird

  • Bockee on August 13, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    There's no way Watson should play if he can't bowl.

  • pratit on August 13, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    Although Aussies are losing at the moment, I like the fact that they are still persisting with 5 bowlers. Just shows the aggressive mindset they have. Truth is unless you have 3 world-class bowlers like Aussies had in their heyday(McGrath, Warne, Gillespie) it is very difficult to play with 4 bowlers unless you are content with a draw. At the moment, batting sides of most teams in the world are weak and so England are getting by with 4 bowlers. But a team looks much more balanced when there is an all-rounder to balance the workload.

  • Ninety9 on August 13, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    "England can have four at the moment because we're not batting well enough at the moment and that's a simple fact of life." That's just gold from Lehmann. Hilariously sad.

  • on August 13, 2013, 12:50 GMT

    Australia better manage his workload. He'll be 34 by the time the first Ashes test takes place in Brisbane. Plus can he really play all 5 tests? He's made it in 3 so far. It would also be his last Ashes series in Australia as well as in England as the next time Australia tours he'll be 37, so it is good he is making his mark now.

  • DustyBin on August 13, 2013, 13:26 GMT

    why would playing Harris next week mean he will be crocked or a lesser player 3 months later? isn't that enough recovery time? Boof has to pick his best bowler. The arguments for England resting Anderson @ the Oval is that Jimmy is not firing..Ryan clearly is & has earned the chance to play again. Lehmann is on to something when he says that 5 bowlers are ideal in test cricket. England could be found out in hot dry conditions in Aus, if they stick with (the same) 4, who've looked flat at times in this unusually hot English summer. At some point Stokes should try out for the no. 6 spot. Bairstow perhaps will be no. 7 & keeper when Prior retires, & he isn't quite making no. 6 his own right now.

  • MaruthuDelft on August 13, 2013, 13:33 GMT

    Whatever the number of tests he is going to play Ryan Harris is one of the greatest bowlers in the history to have graced the game. When he bowls always there is a big chance of dismissal. Now you can put bowlers like Anderson into context when bowlers like Harris are around.

  • Tvaranitra on August 13, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    We can put him in the same class like Allan Donald and Sten. Remember Allan Donald softened up Steve and Mark Waugh with the second new ball in a test match even though Mark Waugh was nearing his century. Hopefully Ryan Harris would be injury free and see some fantastic bowling in the coming years.