Michael Clarke deemed fit enough to play in Boxing Day Test
UPDATE: MICHAEL Clarke will play in the Boxing Day Test.
And the Australian skipper will not have to test his hamstring too much early after Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and chose to bat on an MCG strip that looks likely to offer some early assistance to the hosts' pacemen.
Just 11 days after injuring his hamstring in the first Test against Sri Lanka, the Australian skipper has this morning pulled up well from fitness tests on Christmas Day and has been declared fit.
Clarke has maintained, read hoped, he would be fit since hobbling off retired hurt during the first innings in Hobart.
But even the skipper wasn't convinced until waking well today from a searching series of workouts yesterday.
Michael Clarke will prove himself in Boxing Day Test
AUSTRALIAN skipper Michael Clarke will be given as long as possible to prove his fitness for today's Boxing Day Test at the MCG against Sri Lanka.
Clarke injured his hamstring against the tourists while batting in the first test at Hobart in the second innings.
Usman Khawaja has been called in to the squad on standby if the skipper does not make it in time.
Coach Mickey Arthur, who will delay naming the final team until the toss of the coin this morning, rated Clark 50-50 at a press conference on Monday, but the man himself was not ruling himself out.
"It's going okay and improving every day, that's for sure," Clarke said.
"I have got a little time up my sleeve.
"My mindset hasn't changed and I am really confident that I am doing everything I can to give myself the best chance I can of playing."
Clarke said the decision on whether he played in the Test or not wasn't just about this game.
"The decision whether I play or not isn't that simple," he said.
"It's also making sure I am fit for the Sydney Test, the one-dayers and then the tour of India.
"We have a lot of cricket coming up, so I have got to understand and take the emotion out of it a little bit and listen to the experts.
"But at this stage we are pretty happy with the improvement I have made."
Fast bowler Jackson Bird is set to make his debut for Australia after Mitchell Starc was rested as part of the controversial rotation policy.
Bird will join Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon in the Aussie attack.