Saker tips Tremlett, Prior winning fitness race

England

Bowling coach David Saker has suggested the tall Chris Tremlett will secure the third specialist seamer's berth in England's XI for next week's opening Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Bowling coach David Saker has suggested the tall Chris Tremlett will secure the third specialist seamer's berth in England's XI for next week's opening Ashes Test in Brisbane.

Tremlett and fellow right-armers Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn – and all-rounder Ben Stokes – have been jostling for position throughout the opening three warm-up fixtures of the tour.

Finn took eight wickets in the recent win over Cricket Australia Invitational XI at the Sydney Cricket Ground, while Rankin impressed with three key breakthroughs in the second innings.

Tremlett was rested for that match, and is likely to be the one who partners the experienced Stuart Broad and James Anderson and spinner Graeme Swann at the Gabba.

"I think we're pretty clear in our minds where we're going to go. There's a few more days to go. I'm not going to announce who's going to play. But we're confident where we are, we're pretty clear who we're going to pick, and we'll go from there," said Saker.

"There probably is a chance that it would be up for grabs, but we're pretty clear. If someone wants to jump the queue, they've got a couple of days to do that."

Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, earlier this month, publicly declared Australia's intention to target visiting captain Alastair Cook and number three batsman Jonathan Trott with a slew of short deliveries.

"Teams might target certain players on our team, but we pride ourselves as a group to do the job really well. I know as a bowling group we'll put pressure on them," added Saker.

"If they do want to come after our bowlers, good luck to them – if they're good enough to do that. But if they're doing that, there's a good chance we'll get some chances."

Wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior's recovery from a calf strain is progressing well. Prior was in doubt for the series opener, with the young Jonny Bairstow on standby.

"He is making good progress and obviously we would love him on the park on Thursday," concluded Saker. "He has a few days to get that right and I am confident he will be right but that's up to the medical department."

Latest