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Harris revelling in consistent fitness

Ryan Harris is enjoying the fruits of being able to put his long-time injury problems to one side in the Ashes.

Even the staunchest England supporter could not begrudge Harris his recent success, with the veteran having seen his career plagued by injuries.

The 34-year-old has 85 Test wickets at a stunning average of 22.88 and has been a key component of Australia’s resurgence.

Despite a record many an international cricketer would be happy to call their own, he may always wonder what might have been, given he has managed just 72 career first-class appearances since debuting in 2001.

For now, Harris is living very much in the here and now having represented his country in their last nine Tests.

“I knew I could do it,” he said. “To get through five in a row – or nine in a row with the four in England – in a team that has done so well is a very good feeling.

“We are going to thoroughly enjoy receiving that urn as a unit and I have loved every minute of it. It was a goal of mine to get through five and I can tick it off.”

Far from feeling like he has conquered his Everest by ticking that off, however, Harris has now set his sights on playing in the 2015 meeting between cricket’s greatest rivals.

“I’m a chance, I think,” added Harris. “I’ve got a little bit of stuff floating about in my knee which I’ve got to get out hopefully after South Africa.

“That could give me another year or two, who knows? That’s a goal of mine. I was just hoping to get through this series and then reassess but I’ve spoken to the coach and he’s keen to have me there, and the captain, and we’ll go from there.

“I’d love to have a chance to have one more trip to England to try and defend the Ashes, that’d be just amazing.”

More performances like today will certainly help Harris’ cause.

He claimed three wickets as England were dismissed for just 155 in response to Australia’s 326.

The hosts subsequently reached 140 for four and are now on course to seal a 5-0 whitewash that few expected when the rubber began.

Harris said: “To have a 300-plus lead on day two is a pretty good position to be in. It is not a done thing yet; we’ve got to bat well in the morning and make sure we get some more.

“We will have to bowl like we did again today to bowl them out again. We figure they’re going to fire at some stage – I hope they don't!

“You never know with this game; it’s a funny game. But I don’t think the wicket is getting any easier and if we bowl like we did today, I think we’ll be alright.”

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