Harris to be Ashes bonus for Australia if fit, says Damien Fleming

Sydney: Former Australian Test fast bowler Damien Fleming has touted veteran Ryan Harris as a `class act` for Tests, saying that as long as he is fit, he will be a real bonus for the Australians, ahead of the Ashes opener on Wednesday.

Although Harris struggled on a lifeless New Road wicket in Australia`s final tune-up against Worcestershire, he can offer a lot to the team in the more lively conditions and crunch atmosphere of a first Test against England with fellow fast bowling hopeful Peter Siddle, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The report further said that the Australian strike weapon has taken 47 wickets at 23.63 in 12 Test match-career, which has been curtailed by injuries, adding that selecting him will make England wary and send out a strong statement that Australia is out to win the first Test at all costs.

Even though Harris` body may be unable to back up for Lord`s, Fleming said that he believes that Harris will be a plus point for Australia if he is fit despite his tour match form, adding that he could have been the spearhead if he was younger and was able to play five Tests.

According to Fleming, Harris is a class act as was seen in the recent Sheffield Shield games, where he swung the ball, bowled full and was aggressive, adding that the bowler is strong and is naturally, aerobically fit.

Fleming further said that Harris does not need to play much cricket as the younger players because he knows his game very well.

The report also said that if two-Test player Jackson Bird is picked for his control and nagging consistency, it would mean that there will be just 21 matches worth of experience between him, James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc, adding that they can back themselves with the swinging Dukes balls and favourable conditions at Trent Bridge.

However, Fleming warned Australia that there is a danger in getting too excited, saying that it is necessary to manage expectations when it is moving everywhere, although he added that as bowling build on patience, it is also crucial to have a positive mentality within a young bowling group.

Fleming further said that before implementing any plan, it is necessary to assess the conditions and the match situation continually, adding that if bowlers bowl in a group, then they can build pressure even if they do not take many wickets.