Clarke fit to play, Bollinger out of Ashes opener against England

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BRISBANE - Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has been cleared to play in Thursday’s first Test of the Ashes series against England at Brisbane, but fast bowler Doug Bollinger will be missing out due to a side strain.

Clarke had been under a cloud since aggravating his chronic back problem playing for New South Wales, but looked far more comfortable in the Gabba nets during his 45-minute session on Tuesday.

“Michael Clarke has got through his work very well in the last couple of days. I’m not sure what the long term diagnosis is, but I’m sure he’ll get through this game,” the Age quoted skipper Ricky Ponting, as saying.

Ponting also said that Bollinger needed more on-field practice before being included in the Test team.

Bollinger has not played Test cricket since the recent tour of India, and has been released from the 13-man squad to play a Sheffield Shield match for New South Wales.

“Dougie will be the unlucky quick to miss out. It’s probably his lack of bowling over the last few weeks that has been as much to do with it. When this bowling attack was together last time it had good success in South Africa and at different times in England in the last series,” Ponting said.

“So we feel that Hilfenhaus and Siddle are very much advanced in their preparation for this series and Johnson has got a lot of cricket under his belt as well. We feel this attack has enough to take us 20 wickets at the Gabba,” he added.

Australia (likely): Ricky Ponting (capt), Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Xavier Doherty and Ben Hilfenhaus. (ANI)

will not be displayed