Clark not sure of Oval place
Chairman of selectors ready to make changes in fifth Test
Last Updated: 12/08/09 11:22am
Australia paceman Stuart Clark has been warned that he may not feature in the decisive Ashes Test at The Oval.
The 33-year-old was not included in the side that recorded two draws and a defeat in the opening three Tests, but he was brought back into the fold at Headingley as Australia claimed victory by an innings and 80 runs.
However, while Clark had been expected to feature again in the fifth Test next week, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch says Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle are ahead in the pecking order.
"Although they've probably taken a bit of time to hit their straps, the reality is all three are now the leading wicket-tackers in the Ashes, so I think all those selections have been absolutely spot-on," he said.
"Stuart Clark got the nod and he did a good job, but the other three bowled exceptional well as well and took more wickets.
"So I think we go into the final Test with those three fast bowlers as our leading bowlers at the moment."
Clark will face competition for his place from veteran fast bowler Brett Lee, who has now recovered from the injury that has kept him out of the series, and spinner Nathan Hauritz.
And, as The Oval has a reputation as a good wicket for spinners, it appears Hauritz may be in pole position.
''We're going to have tough selection,'' Hilditch said.
''Stuart Clark played well, Brett Lee's going to be fully fit and ready to go [for the] fifth Test, so it's a good position to be in, but it's not going to be an easy decision.
''I think it's going to come down to conditions, whether we can play four quicks successfully at The Oval or not. It's going to depend on the wicket.''