Australians already reaching for Reiffel

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The Independent Online
Paul Reiffel may be thrown straight into today's match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge amid growing concerns among Australia's management about the form of their bowling attack.

The 31-year-old pace bowler, a surprise omission from the original party having taken 19 wickets in three Tests on his previous visit, was due to arrive yesterday to reinforce the tourists after injuries to three key players.

But Reiffel will be given next to no time to acclimatise. Already without Andy Bichel so far because of a hip injury, Jason Gillespie broke down with a hamstring injury at Edgbaston and all-rounder Greg Blewett was unable to bowl because of a long-standing knee problem.

Furthermore, bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne both disappointed in the first Test, leaving coach Geoff Marsh with little option but to throw the jet-lagged Reiffel in today.

"We will obviously talk to Paul when he gets here to see how he is," Marsh said. "We feel practice out in the middle is probably better than just rolling his arm over in the nets. If he is going to be available for selection at Lord's, he is going to need a couple of games under his belt."

Gillespie, restricted to just 10 overs at Edgbaston, is virtually certain to miss the game today and unless he responds to treatment could also be sidelined for this weekend's trip to Leicester, Australia's final match prior to the second Test at Lord's.

"We are not 100 per cent sure about Jason, but I don't think he will play in the Leicester game which will probably rule him out for the Test match," Marsh said.

Mark Taylor has decided to rest himself while Blewett will have further treatment on his injury to allow Michael Slater and Ricky Ponting time at the crease. Adam Gilchrist will take over wicket-keeping duties from Ian Healy, while both Warne and Michael Kasprowicz also drop out to allow the returns of Bichel, Brendon Julian and Reiffel.