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Clarke fit to lead Australia

Skipper Michael Clarke has proved his fitness and will lead Australia in the four-day tour match against Somerset, starting tomorrow.

Vice-captain Brad Haddin confirmed Clarke’s inclusion after the tourists' first training session under new coach Darren Lehmann at Taunton, this morning.

"Michael is definitely playing against Somerset, which is great news," said Haddin. "It is the first match of an Ashes tour and the Australian captain is pretty excited about being involved.

"He is in a good spot. He had a good catching session this morning and a bit of a hit, although I didn't see much of that as I was in the net beside him."

Middlesex skipper Chris Rogers has not be included in the starting XI, which is expected to see Nottinghamshire left-hander top the order alongside Shane Watson.

"That's the side we have decided to go with. We wanted to give this group a hit," he said. "Chris Rogers has been playing a lot of cricket over the past couple of months, so he is already in pretty good touch.

"I can't say what the batting order will be because I don't know. I could guess, but we will let Michael decide that on the day of the game."

Inevitably, Haddin was asked about the decision to sack Mickey Arthur and appoint Lehmann as coach just over a fortnight before the start of the Investec Ashes series.

He said: "We've had a change of coach, but we don't want to dwell on what has gone on before because that is of no benefit to anyone. Our job is to move forward and play some cricket.

And he continued with a smile: "Training was good and sharp, so the new coach got a tick today! Darren is a good person, who loves the game of cricket and talking about it.

"He loves to see guys learning about cricket and has a lot of knowledge, so he is well respected over here and at home.

"He is very excited about getting the group together and playing some cricket. There has been enough talk, now it's time to get out there and enjoy the start of an Ashes tour."

Asked about morale in the camp following the change of coach, Haddin said: "It wasn't hard to have a smile on your face today. It's the first day of an Ashes campaign so it was obvious the guys would be in good spirits.

"It was really just a top-up day leading into our four-day game tomorrow. It was short and sharp and we got out of it what we needed.

"This is the most exciting tour you can possibly play on. With the whole theatre around an Ashes series, you don't need any further motivation for the first training session."

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