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Australia squad for Investec Tests v England 2013

Michael Clarke (captain)
Far and away Australia's most important player, Clarke carries heavy responsibility. A classy middle-order batsman who has hit new heights since assuming the captaincy from Ricky Ponting, he is required to lead from the front if the tourists are to wrest back the little urn. Australia will pray the 32-year-old, who boasts 23 Test hundreds going into the series, is able to overcome a chronic back complaint that has proven increasingly problematic in recent months.

Brad Haddin (vice-captain)
A fierce competitor, wicketkeeper-batsman Haddin has been drafted back into the national ranks to counter a lack of experience elsewhere. The veteran may lack the flair of his predecessor, the great Adam Gilchrist, but is still capable of making telling contributions in the lower middle-order. Two of Haddin's three Test centuries have come in the first encounter of an Ashes rubber.

Ashton Agar
A teenage spinner yet to make his international bow ahead of the series, Agar toured the British Isles with Australia's A squad before accompanying the Ashes party as a 'development player'.

Jackson Bird
Bird did not make his first-class debut until November 2011, a few weeks before his 25th birthday. He made an immediate impression for Tasmania and was handed a Test bow against Sri Lanka just 13 months later. A tally of 11 wickets in two appearances enhanced the reputation of an accurate seamer who looks to attack the stumps whenever possible in a similar manner to England counterpart Graham Onions.

Ed Cowan
A left-handed batsman who typically favours crease occupation over flashy strokeplay, Cowan will aim to nail down the number three slot after new Australia coach Darren Lehmann confirmed Shane Watson and Chris Rogers as his opening pair. The 31-year-old has experience of English conditions following a stint with Nottinghamshire, but has yet to prove he has what it takes to score heavily on a consistent basis at the highest level.

James Faulkner
Uncapped at Test level prior to this tour, Faulkner is an all-rounder whose strongest suit appears to be his left-arm seam bowling. One of few positives to emerge from Australia's disappointing Champions Trophy campaign, he has been a standout performer for Tasmania in Sheffield Shield cricket.

Ryan Harris
Harris was arguably the pick of Australia's attack in the last Ashes contest, only to be hampered by injury. That pretty much sums up the career of a paceman who would surely have featured in many more international matches were he able to stay fit. His last Test appearance prior to this summer's rubber came back in April 2012 and it remains to be seen if he can recapture his previous form.

Phil Hughes
Still only 24, Hughes is a much-improved cricketer who could yet become a cornerstone of Australia's batting order in all forms. The left-hander has worked hard on a technique that could politely be described as unrefined when he first entered the international arena. Hughes' off-side prowess was clear to see when he cracked two hundreds versus South Africa in only his second Test, but he is now a more rounded player and boasts county experience following a productive stint with Worcestershire.

Usman Khawaja
Another young Australia batsman to have played in English domestic cricket, with Derbyshire, Khawaja has still to make the most of his obvious potential. A qualified pilot and the first Muslim to represent Australia, he made his international debut at Sydney in the last Ashes contest and impressed without making a significant score. Prior to this series, his previous five-day outing came in December 2011.

Nathan Lyon
Lyon will never possess the X-factor of a Shane Warne, but then again who could? The off-spinner, formerly part of the Adelaide Oval groundstaff, has been a reliable performer since breaking into Australia's Test team in 2011 and should not be underestimated.

James Pattinson
One of several young Australia pacemen tipped to enjoy prolonged success at the highest level, Pattinson is the younger brother of former England seamer Darren, whose sole Test appearance came in the 2008 Headingley Test against South Africa. Pattinson junior is quicker than his sibling, hits the bat hard and could well represent the chief threat to England's batsmen.

Chris Rogers
A prolific scorer in Australian and English domestic cricket, Rogers appeared destined to end his career with a solitary Test cap, gained in Perth five years ago. However, the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey convinced Australia's selectors to seek additional experience and the tenacious 35-year-old opener was duly selected for this rubber. Having gained a somewhat unexpected second crack at the international game, he will be determined to cash in.

Peter Siddle
The most experienced member of Australia’s pace attack, Siddle can be devastating on his day as he showed with a hat-trick on the opening evening of the last Ashes series. When fully fit he bowls with express pace and can make the ball swing dangerously, an ability that could see him be as threatening as James Anderson.

Steven Smith
Smith started his career as a leg-spinner who could bat, but his batting is now undoubtedly his strong suit. Indeed, his bowling is erratic. An exceptional fielder, Smith played his maiden Test in more than two years during the recent tour of India and made an assured 92 in his first innings back.

Mitchell Starc
A threatening left-arm seamer who can generate pace and bounce plus move the ball back into right-handed batsmen. Starc announced himself to UK audiences as the leading wicket-taker in last year’s Friends Life t20 with 21 scalps for Yorkshire. He is also a capable batsman and struck 99 versus India in his last Test before the Investec Ashes.

Matthew Wade
The victim of Haddin’s restoration behind the stumps, Wade played in three of the four Tests in India earlier this year but managed just one fifty in six innings. Despite mainly meagre batting returns there, he still averages in the mid-30s. Being second-choice gloveman will not phase a player who was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 16 and required two cycles of chemotherapy to defeat the illness.

David Warner
The attacking top-order batsman’s role in the series was cast into doubt when off-field indiscipline during the Champions Trophy saw him banned for the remainder of that competition and for the warm-up games prior to the Tests. Warner, whose robust torso gives him devastating power, averaged a shade under 40 in Tests going into the series.

Shane Watson
Watson earlier in his career was a genuine international all-rounder but injury has limited the seamer’s ability to bowl. New coach Lehmann promoted him back to the top of the batting order where he has enjoyed success in the Test arena. If Australia are to challenge England, they need plenty of runs from Watson.

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