Michael Clarke
Michael Clarke

Short of declaring his fitness ahead of the Vodafone Boxing Day Test, Australian captain Michael Clarke has given himself every chance of taking his place at the MCG despite hurting his hamstring during the first Test win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Clarke strained his right hamstring batting on day four and was forced to retire hurt as a result, but was able to field as Australia pushed on for their first Test win of the summer.

"I've got a bit of time now leading up to the Boxing Day Test so I'll be having plenty of treatment, but I'm confident I'll be right for Boxing Day," said the skipper after Australia's 137-run win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Clarke didn't elaborate on the degree of his injury and will work with team physio Alex Kountouris and a personal physio in Sydney in a bid to get up for the biggest match on the Australian cricket calendar.

"I'm always going to be really positive because I know I'm in great hands with Alex, I know how good a physio he is and I know how good my physio is back in Sydney that I'll be using over the next couple of days.

"I'll be giving myself very opportunity to be right, that's for sure."

Queensland's Usman Khawaja has been called up on stand-by in case Clarke doesn't regain full fitness and won't be the only new face around the Australian camp going into the second Test.

Leading Sheffield Shield wicket-taker Jackson Bird has been named in the squad to replace an injured Ben Hilfenhaus in the squad for the next Test.

Bird has 27 Shield wickets at 20.56 in six matches this season and boasts a particularly fine record in Melbourne with Clarke suggesting the 26-year-old would compete with reinvigorated left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson for a place in the XI.

"We'll pick the best attack to take 20 wickets," he said.

"If it's two left-armers we'll pick two left-armers."


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