Clarke to miss tour tie; Turner to get nod

Clarke to miss tour tie;  Turner to get nod

Australia captain Michael Clarke will miss his side’s tour match against Sussex this week, while rookie off-spinner Ashton Turner is set to make his first-class debut for the struggling tourists at Hove.

Clarke is sidelined amid reports that a long-standing back injury flared up after Australia’s crushing second Test defeat against England at Lord’s.

Ed Cowan will skipper the team in Clarke’s absence, with vice-captain Brad Haddin, openers Shane Watson and Chris Rogers plus pace bowlers Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris all rested.

Those changes mean a surprise chance for Turner, who had been playing in the English amateur leagues for Chichester Priory Park as part of a development programme run by Cricket Australia and Hampshire.

The 20-year-old has taken 18 wickets at an average of 40.78 for the Sussex Premier League club this season.

Turner, a member of the Australia under-19 team that finished runners-up to India in last year’s World Cup, was one of six Australian Institute Of Sport scholars to be awarded a summer placement in England.  His call-up means Australia will field three spinners against Sussex as Ashton Agar and Nathan Lyon were already included.

With Australia in crisis after falling 2-0 behind in the five-Test series, their hopes of regaining the Ashes suffered a further blow on Monday when pace bowler James Pattinson was ruled out for the rest of the series with a stress fracture of his lower back.  
The tour match against Sussex, which starts on Friday, now serves as an opportunity for Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and James Faulkner to win a place in the Australia attack for the third Test at Old Trafford, which gets underway next week.

Taylor may replace KP Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Kevin Pietersen in the third Test against Australia if the England star fails to recover from injury.  

Pietersen suffered a calf strain during the second Test at Lord’s and was unable to take the field for Australia’s second innings.  But England’s selectors have ear-marked Taylor as the man to step up in case Pietersen doesn’t recover.

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