Clarke warns Bairstow of tougher Tests

2015-07-29 08:36
Jonny Bairstow (AP Photo)

Birmingham - Australia captain Michael Clarke has warned recalled England batsman Jonny Bairstow his recent run-spree in county cricket may count for little when the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston starts on Wednesday.

Bairstow has been given a chance to revive his Test career after England dropped his Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance following Australia's crushing 405-run win in the second Ashes clash at Lord's which left the five-match series all square at 1-1.

He has arrived in Birmingham on the back of a brilliant run for county champions Yorkshire which has seen Bairstow average more than 108 from 12 innings this season.

However, his 14 Tests to date have produced a rather more modest average of 26.95 and Clarke questioned whether the 25-year-old son of former England wicket-keeper David Bairstow would have faced an attack with anything like the pace of Australia's fast-bowling trio of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood so far this season.

"He'll be full of confidence but I would hope the attack he's about to face is a little bit different to what he's faced in county cricket," Clarke told an Edgbaston news conference on Tuesday.

"In saying that, he comes in with form under his belt and you can only score runs against who you're playing.

"We've looked at footage in the lead-up to this Test match, we know what we have to bowl and we need the discipline to put the ball there consistently."

Meanwhile England could be forced into a late change to their bowling attack as well, with Middlesex quick Steven Finn poised for a first Test appearance in more than two years should Durham fast bowler Mark Wood be ruled out.

Wood has featured in the first two Tests of this series but appeared to be restricted by a longstanding ankle complaint at Lord's.

The 25-year-old Wood took part in training on Tuesday morning but persistent rain at Edgbaston denied him a more thorough workout in the outdoor nets.

"We are a little concerned about Woody," Alastair Cook, the England captain, said Tuesday.

"With the weather he couldn't bowl outside, we'll have to make a call on him tomorrow.

"If he is out then with the forecast, probably Steven Finn will be pushing to play.

"Wood has played a huge amount of cricket over the last six to eight months so we have to be careful with him.

"Finn has bowled really well for Middlesex and in the one-dayers (against New Zealand) recently; whoever gets the call will be the lucky one."

The 26-year-old Finn last played a Test in the opening match of the 2013 Ashes series in England.

Cook did not appear to trust him in the second innings of a nail biting clash at Trent Bridge, which England won by 14 runs.

Worse followed for Finn when he was sent home early from England's woeful 5-0 thrashing in Australia in 2013/14 after problems with his action saw him deemed "unselectable".

However, he has taken 31 first-class wickets at under 26 apiece for Middlesex this season and his 23 Tests have yielded 90 wickets.

Australia are also set to make a final decision on the fitness of opener Chris Rogers, who batted in practice on Monday and Tuesday after being diagnosed with a balance problem in the inner ear caused when hit on the helmet by a James Anderson bouncer during his Test-best 173 at Lord's.

Shaun Marsh, who deputised when Rogers was ruled out of Australia's recent 2-0 Test series win in the Caribbean with a concussion suffered batting in the nets, will be called into the side if the 37-year-old left-hander is ruled out.

Read more on:    england  |  ashes  |  jonny bairstow  |  cricket


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