Cricket: McDermott ready for recall: Pace bowlers likely to dominate second Test as Australia try to level the series

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

AUSTRALIA'S injury problems appeared to ease on the eve of today's second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi. Doubts over fast bowler Glenn McGrath's fitness were offset by the news that his partner, Craig McDermott, would almost certainly be available.

An ingrowing toe-nail kept McDermott out of the first Test at Karachi, which Pakistan won by one wicket after McGrath injured his thigh on the fourth day. 'McGrath is not fully fit. He did not bowl in the nets today and may not play,' Mark Taylor, the Australian captain, said.

McGrath's place is likely to be taken by medium-pacer Damien Fleming who would be making his Test debut.

Taylor said he was happy with the way his team had played in the nail-biting Karachi Test. 'We are not playing with the memories of the loss in the back of our minds,' he said.

Taylor made no reference to Ian Healy's missed chance to stump Inzamam-ul-Haq off what proved to be the last ball when the winning runs came from byes. Inzamam and Mushtaq Ahmed had put on 57 for the last wicket.

Pakistan have included Aamir Malik in their squad for the injured Basit Ali, who is out of the series with a thigh injury, while Asif Mujtaba is under consideration.

'We know the Australians will make an all-out effort to snatch a victory to level the series,' Intikhab Alam, the Pakistan manager, said but he added the win had also fired up the home side.

Both countries are expected to field three pace bowlers to take full advantage of Rawalpindi's greenish pitch so the off-spinner Akram Raza is likely to be left out with Mohsin Kamal or the left-arm medium-pacer Kabir Khan, who made his debut in Sri Lanka last month, the main candidates to replace him.

Mark Greatbatch has been dropped by New Zealand for the tour to India and South Africa. Greatbatch, a left-hander, who has moved up to open the innings after struggling in the middle-order, has had a problem with fast bowling that was highlighted last year on the tour of Australia and against Pakistan back in New Zealand.

He was dropped for the first two Tests in England this summer and recalled for the last, where he again struggled. In seven Tests in the 1993-94 season plus the one against England, he scored 222 runs at an average of 13.88.

'He had a disappointing tour of England, and a worrying tour,' Ross Dykes, the national panel convenor, said. 'He has developed a technical problem, which is apparent to everyone, and it would have been wrong to throw him up against another international bowling attack with that technical deficiency.'