Cricket Australia

http://www.cricket.com.au/Global Items/news/2013/7/7/harris-a-class-act-for-test-fleming

Harris a class act for Test: Fleming

UPDATED 07 July, 2013 2:49PM AEDT | by AAP 8

Australian strike weapon Ryan Harris will need to count on his swing ability and excellent Test record being enough to earn him a start in the Ashes opener.

Harris struggled to find another gear on a lifeless New Road wicket in Australia's final tune-up against Worcestershire, ahead of Wednesday's first Test at Trent Bridge.

However, as with fellow fast bowling hopeful Peter Siddle, selectors should already know what the veteran can offer them in the more lively conditions and crunch atmosphere of a first Test against England.

Injuries have curtailed Harris' Test career to just 12 matches, but in that time he's taken 47 wickets at 23.63.

New coach Darren Lehmann has spoken of the need for Australia to play aggressive cricket if they're to win back the urn.

England would be wary of Harris and selecting him would make a strong statement that Australia are out to win the first Test at all costs.

Even if that means the 33-year-old's body being unable to back up for Lord's.

Former Test fast bowler Damien Fleming said tour match form would have to count for something, but that if fit, Harris would do the job.

"Ryan is a real bonus. As long as he's fit I reckon he's ready to go," Fleming said.

"If Ryan Harris was younger and we knew he could play five Tests ... he would probably be the spearhead.

"But he came off nothing this season to play Shield games and then the Shield final. We saw then (seven wickets) he's just a class act. He bowls full, he swings the ball. He's aggressive.

"He's strong and a naturally, very aerobically fit bowler.

"Also he doesn't need as much cricket as the younger guys because he knows his game very well."

Jackson Bird took four first innings wickets in Worcester to put his hand up for selection as well.

Captain Michael Clarke says he wants an attack that compliments each other.

If the ultra-aggressive James Pattinson and left-arm weapon Mitchell Starc are certainties, then Australia will need to assess the conditions and decide who brings more to the table out of Siddle, Harris and Bird.

If two-Test player Bird is picked for his control and nagging consistency, that would mean there's just 21 matches worth of experience between him, Pattinson and Starc.

Australia's young bucks will back themselves with the swinging Dukes cricket balls and complimentary conditions at Trent Bridge, but Fleming warned there's a danger in getting too excited.

"You are attacking but you've got to manage your expectations sometimes when it's moving around everywhere," he said.

"The expectation is they're playing and missing.

"But we know bowling builds on patience ... so that mental side of things with a young bowling group is crucial.

"You need to assess the conditions and the match situation continually and then you implement your plan and you stick with it.

"You bowl as a group as well. Hunt in a pack, so even if you're not getting wickets at one end you're building a lot of pressure knowing if you continue to bowl like that through the series you're going to have a fair bit of success."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 07 July, 2013 2:45PM AEDT

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