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Siddle relishes selection scrap

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Carl Hopkinson & Peter Siddle

Peter Siddle's five wickets at Hove have seemingly secured him a place in the team for the opening Ashes Test

Australia paceman Peter Siddle believes the strong competition among the bowlers for an Ashes place can only benefit the team.

After an impressive performance against Sussex, Siddle is certain to spearhead the attack with Mitchell Johnson, leaving veterans Brett Lee and Stuart Clark, fellow seamer Ben Hilfenhaus and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz locked in a battle for the remaining two spots.

Coach Tim Nielsen was full of praise for Siddle and said he was a “lock” to play in the first npower Test at Cardiff starting on July 8, but Siddle knows chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch will have a tough task confronting him.

"I think Andrew Hilditch gets in today and obviously it's got to be cut down," Siddle said. "It's going to be tough, but everyone is looking fit and strong and bowling well.

"The competition is good for the team; it makes everyone try that little bit harder and put in that little bit extra, so it's great for the team."

Siddle, who returned impressive match figures of 3-68 from 30 overs at Hove, was happy to get back into the groove.

"Personally, it was a great opportunity to get out there and get a few overs under my belt and get back into the longer format of the game," he said.

"It was good out there - I got 30 overs out, felt comfortable and got some good rhythm. I'm just looking forward to this next tour match."

Australia meet England Lions at New Road on Wednesday and Siddle believes the XI chosen for that four-day match to form the basis of the team for the opening Test.

"There's only 11 playing this match and it's going to be tight but hopefully this side will be similar to the first Test side," he said.

Peter Siddle

Siddle claims Australia's tour match against England Lions will be crucial in terms of selection for the Ashes

"This game will be important for the make-up of the first Test, so blokes will be disappointed if they miss out, but hopefully those that are selected perform well and push their case for the first Test."

Siddle also hit back at reports that Australia will struggle to win because they lack a world-class spinner, insisting he has full confidence in the bowling attack.

"I think it's just an English way of getting at us a bit, saying we're a bit weak with the spin,” he said.

“But Hauritz in the second innings bowled superbly and Marcus North also bowled wellm so I think it's just them trying to talk themselves up, having those three spinners in their squad.

"We've got the quicks there to back up the few spin options and I'm sure our bowling attack will be fine on those wickets."

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