Mixed prospects for Clarke at Melbourne
Australia's chairman of selectors John Inverarity says captain Michael Clarke has a “50-50” chance of playing in the Boxing Day Test with Sri Lanka.
Clarke trained separately from the rest of the squad during a session at the MCG today as he continues his quest to be fit for the second Test.
The skipper injured his hamstring during the first-Test win in Hobart and Inverarity remains doubtful Clarke will be ready to play the second game.
"He's travelling optimistically and well, but he's 50-50 as to whether he'll be fit enough to play on Boxing Day," Inverarity admitted.
Inverarity added he would be loath to risk exacerbating Clarke's injury by limiting his recovery time.
"He's a very precious asset and I would go low-risk," Inverarity said. "He's always upbeat, he desperately wants to play, but we certainly don't want to push him especially hard in a Test and for him to break down."
Shane Watson will take over captaincy duties if Clarke does not play. Watson has not started to think along those lines just yet, though, and is convinced his skipper could still prove his fitness.
"In the end I know Michael will be doing everything he possibly can to be able to get right for this Test match and everyone's got their fingers crossed that he'll be right, but if the opportunity does arise then I'll re-focus then," Watson said.