Hauritz still in Ashes frame
Out-of-form off-spinner Nathan Hauritz could still feature in the first Ashes Test for Australia.
Last Updated: 05/07/09 12:34pm
Out-of-form off-spinner Nathan Hauritz could still feature in the first Ashes Test as Australia wait until the last minute to finalise their starting XI.
Hauritz is in a battle with veteran quick Stuart Clark for the final berth in Australia's attack for the Test in Cardiff which starts on Wednesday.
While Hauritz finished with the unflattering figures of two for 260 from 68.2 overs in Australia's two tour matches, coach Tim Nielsen refused to rule him in or out until selectors see the wicket.
"We've spoken about it the whole way through, we won't know until we get to Cardiff," Nielsen said when asked what the make-up of Australia's attack would be.
"We've spoken about it the whole way through. No point saying that (four quicks) if we turn up and it's a green top or vice versa."
Meanwhile Nielsen defended Hauritz's record to date, believing the spinner had improved throughout each of Australia's tour games.
"(There's) no point taking 12 wickets in two games here and being over-ripe for the Test," he said.
"He's comfortable with how his game is progressing and I feel he's got better and better."
Nielsen could also see the benefits of Hauritz bowling to England's left-handers.
"Their Test match squad usually has three left-handers to finish their order off and two at the top, so an off-spinner would be pretty handy in that regard," he believed.
But if the Australian selectors do decide to omit Hauritz and pick an all-pace attack, part-timers Marcus North, Simon Katich and Michael Clarke will perform the spinning duties for the tourists.