Australia unlikely to change bowlers for Sydney

Paceman Ryan Harris and all-rounder Shane Watson bowled sparingly in the second innings of the fourth test win in Melbourne.


Melbourne: Australia are expected to keep the successful attack that has carried them to a 4-0 Ashes lead for the final test against England in Sydney, bowling coach Craig McDermott said on Monday.

Paceman Ryan Harris and all-rounder Shane Watson bowled sparingly in the second innings of the fourth test win in Melbourne as they managed respective knee and groin complaints, raising doubts about their fitness.

"As I keep saying, you don't play test cricket without getting sore," McDermott told reporters in Melbourne.

"I fully expect we'll have the same team - or the same bowling group - in Sydney ... I'm very confident that will happen."

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"Watto (Watson) proved (his fitness) yesterday - he ran between wickets pretty well."

"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."

Having skittled England's second innings for 179 in two sessions and wrapped up the match before tea on day four, Australia's pacemen, led by man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson, have an extra day to recover.

All have performed well in the series, with spinner Nathan Lyon enjoying a five-wicket innings haul at the MCG and Peter Siddle also making timely contributions.

"All five of them have bowled very well," former test bowler McDermott said.

"We've been in a couple of little ... holes here and there, but good sides (work) through that."

"Certainly the last test match turnaround from where we finished in the first innings batting-wise, just proves we have a really good side - a great side in the making."

Australia's selectors named uncapped batsman Alex Doolan, a disciple of fellow Tasmanian and former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, in a 14-man squad for Sydney on Monday.

The 28-year-old Doolan replaces fast bowler Doug Bollinger in the squad, with uncapped paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile and all-rounder James Faulkner also in reserve.

Australia's batting lineup has been less dependable than the team's bowling unit and was routed for 204 in the first innings in Melbourne.

The scrutiny is especially fierce on number six George Bailey, who was handed his test debut this series on the strength of his form in one-day internationals, but has managed only 136 runs for the series at an average of 27.20.

His figures are the lowest for any specialist batsman on either team, barring England's Jonathan Trott, who left the tour after the first test in Brisbane.

An experienced number three in first class cricket, Doolan would be expected to slot into Watson's spot if the all-rounder proves unfit, but Bailey could also make way to allow wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to move up to number six and bowling all-rounder James Faulkner to come in at seven.

"Obviously it's pretty special times, 4-0 with one to go," McDermott said.

"I'm looking forward to a 5-0, from my side of it ... It's a great achievement from the side and all the staff."

Australia squad:

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

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