Harris could be rested at The Oval

Australia

Australia are considering leaving fast bowler Ryan Harris out of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval, despite his recent heroics with the ball in Durham, given the paceman's fragile fitness record.

Australia are considering leaving fast bowler Ryan Harris out of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval, despite his recent heroics with the ball in Durham, given the paceman's fragile fitness record.

Harris, at the age of 33, took his career-best figures in the fourth Ashes Test, claiming seven wickets in the second innings before the batsmen failed to capitalise on the foundation he laid out for them.

But now with the fifth Test a deadrubber, with England having won the fourth Test by 74 runs, coach Darren Lehmann is considering resting Harris as they look ahead to the second set of five games, in Australia in November.

Lehmann said: "We would love him to play. He is exceptional. The extra day would be good because there's only a week before the next game. To be perfectly honest, we will be extra careful with him. We have make sure he is right come the next Test series.

"He is so valuable to us, as he showed in the past few games. We would have loved to have played him in the first Test but he wasn't quite right. He has shown his value since then. If he is in any doubt of getting through he won't play."

Despite only playing 15 Tests, and being injured more often than not, Harris has moved up the Test bowling rankings to number seven, though Lehmann feels he should be higher than that.

The coach said: "He's top three or four I reckon. But that's a totally biased opinion isn't it, I've had him for years [as coach of Queensland].

"I just reckon he's outstanding in what he gives to the team and how he bowls and he just gets good players out, doesn't he? The wickets he's got have been high end all series. He's blown England away a few times."

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