Cricket Australia Items/news/2014/1/1/haddin-confident-of-same-eleven

Haddin confident of magnificent XI

UPDATED 01 January, 2014 3:35PM AEST | by AAP

VC thinks Harris, Watson will play

Brad Haddin remains confident Australia can create history by fielding the same team for five consecutive Tests, despite doubtful duo Ryan Harris and Shane Watson not bowling two days out from the Sydney Test.

Should selectors stick with the same eleven that has delivered a 4-0 thrashing in the Ashes so far, it will be the first time in history an Australian team remains unchanged for a five-Test series.

Uncertainty remains over the fitness of Harris and Watson however, and Australia's training on Wednesday shed no light on their availability for the match, which starts on Friday.

Watson picked up a groin injury while coming in to bowl during the Boxing Day Test, while Harris' lingering knee injury has been compounded by a foot complaint.

The pair took part in a light field session at the SCG but none of the Australian fast bowlers, including allrounder Watson, appeared in the net session that followed.

Haddin was optimistic when quizzed about their availability.

The wicketkeeper added that the fact Watson returned to bowl in Melbourne, albeit at a reduced pace, was a good sign and the chances of Harris playing were "pretty high".

"(Harris) is doing everything he can to play and the only way he won't play is if he's injured - and he's not injured at the moment," Haddin said. "I think that dodgy knee of his is feeling good.

"(Watson) bowled the other day so I can see no reason why he won't (play and bowl).

"It just depends on how many overs we need to get out of him."

One of the only contentious selections surrounds that of struggling middle-order batsman George Bailey, who could lose his spot to Tasmanian teammate James Faulkner.

In what could have been viewed as a fight for the final place in Michael Clarke's team, Faulkner bowled at Bailey during Wednesday's net session.

And the results weren't good for the incumbent No.6, who was clean-bowled by the rising allrounder during an impressive spell.

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

First Posted 01 January, 2014 3:30PM AEST

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