Clarke's fitness to decide Ashes: Stewart

London, July 1 (ANI): With just 10 days to go before the Ashes series gets under way at Trent Bridge, former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart has said that captain Michael Clarke's fitness will be the key factor in deciding Australia's destiny in the series.

According to Stewart's column in the Mirror, he was expecting a series that would live up to its box office billing, but England was the favourites to win.

Stewart said that after the exclusion of opening batsman Nick Compton from Australia's warm-up game against Essex, it is likely that Root will be sent to the top of the order alongside captain Alastair Cook.

Former England captain Kevin Pieterson has been in top form before the Ashes with an outstanding 177 not out for Surrey last week.

In a bizarre turn of events for Australian cricket since the last few weeks, batsman David Warner has been suspended until the opening test, coach Mickey Arthur has been replaced by Darren Lehmann and captain Clarke is struggling with a back problem. (ANI)

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