Clarke won’t finalise playing XI for Gabba Test before reassessing pitch on Friday

Brisbane: Australian captain Michael Clarke has said he won’t finalise his playing XI for the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba before reassessing the pitch and weather on Friday morning.

Clarke said conditions on the first morning of the match will determine whether he opts for four quicks or three pacemen plus spinner Nathan Lyon.

But he has given former captain Ricky Ponting the all clear after the veteran underwent a searching fitness test on his troublesome hamstring in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

Clarke said he had discussed in-house which paceman faced the axe if conditions favoured including Lyon for the heavyweight three-Test series opener but would not reveal a name on Thursday.

“At this stage we are still deciding whether to play four fast bowlers or three fast bowlers and Nathan. I was expecting to have a decision (on the 12th man) for you (on Thursday) but the wicket has changed a little since (Wednesday) and I need to wait and see if it changes again come (Friday) morning,” Clarke said.

“The weather plays a big part, whether it is overcast or the sun is shining. I really want to wait until (Friday) morning to get a good look at it,” he said.

Clarke said Ponting was champing at the bit to face world No.1 South Africa.

“He is fully fit. He has done everything possible. He has pulled up really well and is excited about (Friday),” he said.


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