News24

Harris poised for Oz comeback

2012-01-07 12:33

Sydney - Fit-again Ryan Harris is ready to take the place of injured fast bowler James Pattinson in the Australian team for next week's third Test against India in Perth, coach Mickey Arthur said on Saturday.

Rising pace star Pattinson will miss the rest of the four-Test series with a stress injury to his left foot after playing a leading role in Australia's 2-0 lead over India.

Pattinson, 21, has taken 21 wickets in his first four Tests as Australia inflicted heavy defeats on the tourists in Melbourne and then in Sydney on Friday.

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy series switches to the bouncy WACA wicket in Perth, where Australia lost to the tourists on India's last tour in 2007-08.

Paceman Harris is nearing full fitness after a hip injury suffered in November's Cape Town Test against South Africa.

"We have a proven Test bowler waiting in the wings, ready to go. We've put a lot of work into Ryan over the last two weeks, he was close to getting a game in Sydney, but we felt that he hadn't had enough work," Arthur said.

"We've put that work into him and we're satisfied that if selected he's ready to go come Perth."

Arthur, the former South Africa Test coach who came initially to Australia to coach Western Australia, is familiar with the normally pacy WACA wicket.

"While the Sydney wicket and Adelaide most resembles the sub-continent (wickets), the WACA pitch is going to be totally different," he said.

"There will be a lot of pace, a lot of bounce in the WACA wicket, so it will be interesting to see how they (India) go there."

Although India have been thrashed by 122 runs and an innings and 68 runs in the opening two Tests, Arthur said he was not writing them off.

"You're looking at the team that is the current World Cup champions and a team that got to No 1 in the world. I would never ever say they were a team of individuals," he said.

"There are a lot of very good individual players but over the last couple of years they've certainly played as a team and have had some huge successes as a side."

Arthur was also backing misfiring number three batsman Shaun Marsh to hit back on his home WACA wicket after scores of 0, 3 and 0 in his three Test innings against India.

"He had quite a severe (back) injury and was out for six weeks, where before his injury he was right on top of his game and it's going to take him a little bit of time to get that back," he said.

"We've been working quite a lot with Shaun and (batting coach) Justin Langer has put a lot of time into him."

Marsh had been "perhaps a little bit too tentative and that's natural because when you come back into international cricket you are going to be tentative.

"It takes one innings for him to rediscover that form and get that confidence back. I'm not worried about Shaun, he's a fantastic player who's going to score a lot of runs for Australia".

Arthur also praised skipper Michael Clarke for his man-of-the-match performance in Sydney.

Clarke became only the sixth Australian to score a triple Test century with his unconquered 329, before snaring Sachin Tendulkar's prized wicket for 80 in the second innings to send India tumbling to another heavy defeat.

"When Michael Clarke is hitting the ball late and hitting the ball under his eyes he's playing exceptionally well," Arthur said.

"The moment he goes and feels out in the front of his pad he gets himself into trouble.

"He's not doing that now, he looks the complete package and he's a complete captaincy package as well. He is truly inspirational in the dressing room."

The third Test gets under way in Perth on Friday.

SAPA