Oval Test: Three-way battle for final bowling spot

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London, Aug.19 (ANI): There are at least three contenders for the final bowling spot in the Australian line up for the fifth and final Ashes Test to be played at The Oval from Thursday.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and spinner Nathan Hauritz are all vying for the final berth, but the team management is still maintaining that the pitch on offer will determine who gets in.

Although Australian coach Tim Nielsen has spoken enthusiastically about Lee's chances should reverse swing enter equations on a hard and dry pitch at The Oval from Thursday, Clark, the incumbent, and Hauritz, who played the first three Tests, are locked in a three-way battle with Lee for the final bowling spot.

South African coach Mickey Arthur, whose side will assume the No.1 Test ranking should Australia lose or draw this game - can only watch in bewilderment.

"They made a mistake for the first three Tests," he said of Australia playing Hauritz over Clark.

"Hauritz is a nice bowler, a good guy, but I wouldn't have played him. I couldn't understand why they didn't play Stuart Clark - I wouldn't have played a spinner at all. You need a guy that can hold [up an end] for you. [Clark] almost takes up that spinning role by doing the holding job that allows the other three quicks to run in and bowl aggressively," Arthur was quoted, as saying.

"I think they got their balance right at Headingley and I always felt England was going to get exposed at some stage," he said.

Clark is the more imposing hurdle, having done the required job of dismantling England's batting card on the first day at Headingley. Nielsen and the selectors know all about Clark's withering effect on English batsmen and dangers of dismantling a winning team.

"The team that played so well at Headingley has obviously given us a real quandary," Nielsen said. (ANI)

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