Worcester (England), June 28 (ANI): Australian cricket team coach Tim Nielsen has confirmed that in-form quick Peter Siddle will play the first Ashes Test at Cardiff.
Siddle was the outstanding quick in the four-man pace bowl-off with Sussex as Australia's bowlers failed to finish off the resilient county side in the drawn match.
The Victoria quick combined accuracy with serious menace in Hove to shift the pressure on Stuart Clark and Brett Lee to capture the last guaranteed pacer's spot for the first at Sophia Gardens starting July 8.
Nielsen said he had thought Siddle was a no-brainer to line up in the first Test alongside Mitchell Johnson even before the recently completed practice match on England's south coast.
"I think Peter Siddle is a lock, he is bowling beautifully. All things being equal, his body being in good shape, he is ready to go. He is one of our two outstanding bowlers in my opinion," Fox Sports quoted Nielsen, as saying.
Nielsen maintained his stance that the Australia side could field four quicks in Wales before his catch up this week with chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch in Worcester.
"I really am pretty open to the idea of waiting to see what we get in Cardiff as far as the wicket is concerned," Nielsen said.
"The quicks have had a lot of success there, just looking at the stats over the last couple of years, the opening bowlers have had some success. They perceive it to be a bit more of a seaming wicket at times," he added.
Clark and Lee, both on the comeback trail from injuries, had their moments in Hove but still looked short of a gallop and in need of playing in this week's hit-out in Worcester against a formidable England Lions outfit.
Swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus seems to have slipped to the back of the fast bowling queue after playing in all three Tests in South Africa this year.
The main question surrounds the selection of spinner Nathan Hauritz for Cardiff as that impacts whether there is room for both Clark and Lee.
Hauritz sharpened up his act considerably in the second innings against Sussex following a poor first-up performance.
There is a chance Siddle will be rested from the Worcester clash to be fresh for the back-to-back Ashes Tests at Cardiff and Lord's. (ANI)