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Lehmann confident of playing

Melbourne: Australian batsman Darren Lehmann said on Tuesday he was confident he could overcome a heel injury before Friday’s second Test against Zimbabwe.

Lehmann has finally established himself in Steve Waugh’s side and is in no hurry to hand over his place to a younger rival like Simon Katich, who is part of a 14-man Australia squad.

Lehmann scored his maiden Test hundred in the second Test of the West Indies tour in April and has improved his record to 995 runs at an average 49.75 from 15 matches including three centuries.

The 33-year-old left-hander even took a career-best three for 61 from 31.2 overs with his slow left-armers in the first Test in Perth, which Australia won by an innings and 175 runs on Monday to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.

“It has pulled up a lot better than I thought it would. It was from bowling so many overs,” joked the chunky South Australian, who was often in the shadow of established Test batsmen like the now-retired Mark Waugh.

“I think I will be right to go, but you never know,” Lehmann told reporters in Perth.

Lehmann missed the first match of Australia’s World Cup campaign because of a five-game ban for racial abuse during a match against Sri Lanka in Perth, but ended the tournament as a twice World Cup winner.

Lehmann hit 110 and 177 in the two Tests against Bangladesh in July following his breakthrough innings of 160 in Port of Spain.

Australia named uncapped pacemen Brad Williams and Nathan Bracken and recalled spinners Brad Hogg and Katich on Monday in a squad of 14 for the second Test.

Australia’s bowling attack is unsettled by injuries to three frontline bowlers.

Leading paceman Glenn McGrath is unavailable for the Zimbabwe series because of an ankle surgery. Jason Gillespie will miss the second Test with a side strain and leg-spinner Stuart MacGill is in doubt with a calf strain.

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