| Gilchrist feels potentially India will be their toughest challenge
Sydney: Left-arm pacer Nathan Bracken’s domination of Indian opener Virender Sehwag might see him into the Australian team ahead of Brad Williams for next week’s opening Test against India, vice-captain Adam Gilchrist said on Tuesday.
Australia’s selectors will announce their 12-man squad on Thursday with Bracken and Williams vying for the third fast-bowling spot behind Jason Gillespie and Andy Bichel for the Gabba Test in Brisbane.
Williams relegated Bracken to 12th man duties in Australia’s last Test against Zimbabwe here last month, taking two for 58 and two for 56, but Bracken was outstanding in the recent limited-overs series in India. Bracken claimed eight wickets in three matches against India at an average of 12.12 — including the scalp of Sehwag for a trio of failures.
Twice Bracken dismissed Sehwag in the first over of the Indian innings, first ball on one occasion. He also picked up the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar.
“It must be pretty tight between Nathan and Brad,” Gilchrist said. “They both bowled exceptionally well over in India. Williams did a good job in the Test match he played but Nathan is another option for us as a left-armer.
“The pleasing thing about the series we just played is that guys like Nathan and Brad are not just filling in when they get their opportunities, they’re putting pressure on others all the time.”
Gilchrist said injured duo Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath would have to prove themselves worthy of recalls later if Bracken or Williams took wickets in the opening Test.
Asked whether Bracken’s repeated success against Sehwag was significant, Gilchrist said: “That could very well come into it. It’s got to be a positive for him. It could play in his favour to a big degree.”
Lehmann vows to make comeback
Injured Darren Lehmann vowed on Tuesday to return to Test cricket after he has overcome a severe Achilles tendon problem.
Lehmann described his injury as a “long hiccup”, but refuted suggestions it would end his international career. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion, that’s fine,” said Lehmann, who is expected to be on the sidelines until at least early January.
“All I can do is play cricket and make runs and hopefully play for Australia again. If that doesn’t happen ... Well, so be it.