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Injury cloud over Harris

Calcutta/Perth: Ryan Harris bowled in the nets at the Waca on Thursday and Australia captain Michael Clarke was confident that the pacer would be fit to face England when the third Ashes Test begins on Friday.

But it was bad news for James Faulkner. The all-rounder suffered a fractured right thumb after he was struck on the hand while batting in the nets on Thursday.

Australian team doctor Peter Brukner said: “…He will not be available for the third Test. His progress will be monitored for a return to playing duty depending on how quickly the injury heals.”

Harris, on the other hand, has been troubled by an ongoing knee problem and that is threatening to prevent Australia from naming the same team for a third Test in a row.

“I’m hopeful that everyone will come up… I think there’s the obvious one in Ryan-, who bowled today, and we’ll see how he pulls up,” Clarke said on Thursday. “I’m confident he’ll be fine.”

Interestingly, had Faulkner been fit, he would have been the most obvious replacement for Harris. Australia also have Doug Bollinger and the uncapped Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby, so still have the option of going with a four-pronged pace attack on what is expected to be a bouncy Perth wicket.

“I think one of them will come in and replace Ryan if he’s not fit but, as I say, I’m very confident that Ryan will be okay,” Clarke said.

Despite the success Australia's pace bowlers have enjoyed so far in the series, Clarke said he would be unlikely to send England in to bat if he won the toss for the third straight Test.