Aussies raring to go
Australia are desperate to get back into action as they line-up against Sussex in their first Ashes warm-up.
Last Updated: 23/06/09 6:47pm
Australia are desperate to get back into action after their unwanted extra training period.
Australia have been in intensive training for the Ashes ever since their early exit in the first stages of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England.
Their disappointing exit has left Ricky Ponting's men stewing in the nets with an extended period of practicing following their tournament disappointment.
However they will return to action in their first Ashes warm-up game against Sussex at Hove on Wednesday.
And Michael Clarke says that they are now desperate to get back out onto the field again.
"All the boys are sick of training and are keen to start playing again," Clarke told Sky Sports News.
"It was unfortunate that we got knocked out of the Twenty20 tournament a little bit too early, a little bit earlier than expected.
"But it's given us the opportunity to prepare ourselves as well as we possibly can for two practice games first, and then leading up to the first Test in Cardiff."
Australia will be a much-changed side to the one that lost in England in 2005, but after some criticism they arrive on a high after winning a Test series in South Africa.
The tour of South Africa also saw Australia improve in their stock of fast bowlers, with Mitchell Johnson stepping up in the absence of the injured Brett Lee and Stuart Clark, while Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle also performed well.
And with Clark and Lee back in action for the Ashes, left-armer Johnson says that Australia are now well-stocked in that area.
"It wasn't so long ago that there was talk that we had no fast bowling stocks in Australia," said Johnson, who will be rested for the Sussex match in preparation for the rigours ahead. "So to be where we are at the moment, we're in a great position."
The returning Clark agrees, and says that the competition for places is now as fierce as ever.
"We've got five very good fast bowlers," said Clark.
"The competition has been good, I'm not sure the batters have enjoyed it so much in the nets, but it's good to see guys going out there and giving it their all trying to get picked."
Although they have a wealth of quick bowling talent, Australia have just one specialist spinner in the squad in Nathan Hauritz.
However the talk of England possibly playing two spinners at Cardiff is music to Hauritz's ears.
"I think it's fantastic that they're talking about playing two spinners," said Hauritz. "Because that just means there's more opportunity for me to play and for me to bowl.
"I guess I've still got to turn up, we've got these practise games first and I have to bowl well there first and put my name forward."
Injury victim Shane Watson will join Johnson on the sidelines at Hove, the all-rounder having to wait for the results of a scan on his knee.
Although Ponting still expects him to be fit for the match against England Lions next week, Australia have not completely ruled out the possibility of calling up extra batting cover.