Harris added to Oz squad

2011-12-30 09:56

Melbourne - Oft-injured paceman Ryan Harris, added on Friday to Australia's 12-man squad for the second Test against India, doesn't fancy his chances of cracking the starting XI that beat the visitors by 122 runs in the first Test.

Harris, who is working his way back from a hip injury, will give Australia the option of a four-man pace attack. He replaces left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who was 12th man in Melbourne, in the only change to the side.

Although the Sydney Cricket Ground has traditionally been a spin-friendly wicket, it may be prepared to suit paceman this time to negate India's strength against spin bowling. If so, Harris could join a four-man pace attack while offspinner Nathan Lyon is demoted to 12th man.

Harris was regarded as Australia's No 1 fast bowler before his injury absence, but the performances of James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the first-Test victory have cast doubts on whether Harris can force his way into the team.

Harris boasts a record of 35 wickets at 21.37 in eight Tests, but says he's concerned that his next injury blow could spell the end of his career.

"I'm down the pecking order," Harris said on Friday. "It's my fault that I got injured and all I'm trying to do is just get fit and let it take care of itself.

"I don't expect to be able to go straight back into that team. The boys, with what they did in the last two days against that batting line-up, was outstanding."

All-rounder Shane Watson has not recovered from a calf injury and will miss the Test which starts on Tuesday.

Watson's continued absence ensures the six batsmen from the Melbourne Test will be retained, although the strong performances of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey - the men under most scrutiny going into the series opener - had already ensured their spots. Wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin is also safe, despite his continued poor form.

Chairperson of selectors John Inverarity said the team would take great confidence and momentum into the second Test and he welcomed Harris's return to the squad after a four-Test absence.

"Ryan has had carefully monitored preparation, which has gone to plan," Inverarity said. "Mitchell Starc and Daniel Christian, who were both in the squad for the first Test, have been omitted but remain very much in our thinking."

Siddle dismissed Sachin Tendulkar twice in Melbourne. On Friday, he had a warning for the veteran star and his teammate V.V.S. Laxman, who scored first-innings centuries in the Sydney Test of 2007/08.

"Four years is a long time ago, the wicket has changed," Siddle said. "It has been a bit better for the bowlers."

Tendulkar will again be seeking to notch his record 100th international century when he plays at the SCG. He hasn't scored 100 in a Test or one-day match since March, but looked in top form in his first-innings 73 at the MCG before being out for 32 in India's second innings.

Australia squad (12th man to be named):

Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson