Australia add Harris to winning side and consider all-pace attack
Saturday 31 December 2011
Australia yesterday brought Ryan Harris into their squad for the second Test against India, adding a fourth pace option a day after bowling their way to victory in the opening match.
The injury-prone Harris joins James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the 12-man party for the second match in the four-Test series, which starts on Tuesday at the SCG.
Pattinson, playing only his third Test, edged Siddle and Hilfenhaus to man of the match honours in Melbourne after all three played key roles with both bat and ball in the 122-run victory. All four pacemen playing at the SCG would be quite a statement as it is a ground that has traditionally favoured spin-bowling but captain Michael Clarke said that omitting Nathan Lyon might be a gamble the hosts were prepared to take.
"I've seen Ryan bowl in the nets over the last few days and he looks pretty good," Clarke said. "That's probably one of the bonuses we've got at the moment, our attack is bowling really well, and we have guys like Ryan on the mend and not too far from being fully fit. I think it is a good problem to have."
When fully fit Harris is a formidable bowler and would be a welcome addition to the trio who got plenty of pace and movement off the pitch at the MCG. While Australia's bowling attack looked in rude health in the first Test, the batting line-up again showed a fragility that has become all too familiar this year.
The top order remained intact despite some disappointing performances, perhaps because opening batsman and all-rounder Shane Watson remains unavailable for selection. Watson, Australia's player of the year for the past two seasons, sustained an injury in South Africa last month and missed both the two-match series against New Zealand and the Test in Melbourne.
"Shane has not fully recovered from his right calf injury and is therefore not available for the Sydney Test," the team physiotherapist, Alex Kountouris, said. "He will continue his rehabilitation and hopefully be available for one of the remaining Test matches."
Australia, who have never lost a Test series against India on home soil, also play matches in Perth and Adelaide after the Sydney Test.
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