Ashes 2013-14: Australia turn attentions to 5-0 whitewash after bowling coach Craig McDermott admits 'excitement' ahead of final Test

Australia could record their second 5-0 series win in three Ashes tours Down Under following the 2006-07 success

David Clough
Monday 30 December 2013 09:41
Shane Watson and Michael Clarke celebrate the Fourth Ashes Test victory over England
Shane Watson and Michael Clarke celebrate the Fourth Ashes Test victory over England

Australia are beginning to get excited about the imminent prospect of another 5-0 Ashes whitewash.

The hosts have been wary, even after regaining the urn before Christmas, of acknowledging that a 5-0 scoreline - which would be a second in three England tours Down Under - might be in the offing.

But, having trounced the tourists in Melbourne, bowling coach Craig McDermott was not so shy as he spoke about the chances of making it a clean sweep in Sydney.

Australia's bowlers once again set up victory at the MCG, where Mitchell Johnson was man of the match for his eight-wicket haul, and McDermott wants more of the same at the SCG when the final Test starts on Friday.

"Obviously it's pretty special times - 4-0 with one to go," the former Test fast bowler said. "I'm looking forward to a 5-0.

"It's a great achievement from the side and all the staff."

Australia have added Tasmania batsman Alex Doolan to their winning squad, to ensure all-rounder Shane Watson's apparently minor injury concerns are covered in batting as well as bowling.

A contingency was already in place in the latter department, and Australia have felt able to release left-arm seamer Doug Bollinger in place of Doolan in a 14-man squad which is otherwise unchanged.

McDermott, in any case, is still anticipating the same XI will take the field for a fifth consecutive Test.

"As I keep saying, you don't play Test cricket without getting sore," he said, when asked about the groin injury which troubled Watson in Melbourne but did not stop him making an unbeaten 83 as Australia charged to an eight-wicket win on the fourth afternoon.

"I fully expect we'll have the same team - or the same bowling group - in Sydney.

"I'm very confident that will happen."

McDermott includes Watson in his term 'bowling group', and believes the number three batsman has already demonstrated he is not in a significant state of disrepair.

"Watto proved that yesterday - he ran between wickets pretty well," he said. "He's not the fastest mover at the best of times.

"He got through - he bowled in the second innings as well. I don't think there will be any drama with Watto."

The uncapped Doolan, meanwhile, was delighted - if a little surprised at first - to receive a call from national selector John Inverarity.

"I didn't quite know what to expect when I saw John Inverarity's number pop up on my phone," the 28-year-old said.

"I was wondering what I'd done wrong.

"It's a real shock, and a real honour. It's going to be exciting, and something I will really cherish."

Australia batting coach Michael Di Venuto has no doubt Doolan will be up to the task, if required.

"He's not a young player - Alex has been around for a while and played a fair bit of cricket for Tasmania, so he's experienced," he said.

"If he gets his opportunity, it will be at the top of the order, at number three

"I'm sure he will perform well. If an opportunity arises, he will be ready to go."

As well as monitoring the fitness of Watson, Australia will be keeping a close eye on fast bowler Ryan Harris as he battles a chronic knee injury, with all-rounder James Faulkner expected to deputise should he be ruled out of the SCG Test which gets under way on Friday.

Australia squad: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steven Smith, George Bailey, Alex Doolan, Brad Haddin (wkt), James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Nathan Coulter-Nile.


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