Hayden still struggling as Rogers gets ready for debut

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Perth, Jan 14 (UNI) Australia is keeping their fingers crossed and would wait until Wednesday morning to see if their most prolific run getter against India, Matthew Hayden, is ready to take field at Perth.

Although, Cricket Australia (CA) has added Chris Rogers as a possible replacement for Hayden in Australia's squad for the third Test but it would still prefer to have the experience and consistency of the opener in the playing XI.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting said, ''We'll probably give him until the morning of the game and see where we go from there''.

''He's pretty hard to keep out of the side, if he's even close to fit. It would be hard to tell him he's not playing,'' he claimed.

Hayden had a training session yesterday but was still far from match fit. ''He fielded at 20 per cent and had a few catches''.

''He had some light run-throughs and a really good hit in the nets, but there was no explosive running between wickets,'' Ponting added.

Hayden suffered a hamstring tendon strain during the second Test at Sydney and had to bat with a runner in his second innings.

Team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris is working over time on Hayden's fitness but is still unsure whether the opener will be available for the third Test.

''We will continue with the program on his hamstring and make a decision about Matthew's fitness and availability much closer to game time,'' Kountouris said.

Even Michael Clarke acknowledged the physio's efforts and and said it would be hard to see the opener being ruled out for the Perth Test but added that it would provide a good opportunity to Chris Rogers.

''Haydos has been an absolute champion for a long time now, in all forms of the game, so Alex is trying his hardest and doing everything in his power to get him right,'' Clarke said.

''I think it's a fantastic opportunity for Chris Rogers to come into the squad and prepare like he's going to play, but the type of guy Haydos is, you'd have to chop his leg off to not see him out there,'' he added.

''I'm pretty confident with Alex's magic and Haydos's discipline and the type of person he is, that we'll get to see Matty Hayden out there,'' Mr Clarke said.

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