Tourists turn to Faulkner
Australia's state of disarray during the current Ashes series continued as captain Michael Clarke confirmed James Faulkner would become the 17th player used by the tourists when he makes his debut in the final Test at the Kia Oval.
All-rounder Faulkner, 23, comes in as one of two changes for Australia, for whom this match represents a final chance to claim a win in a series England currently lead 3-0. Mitchell Starc has been recalled, with Usman Khawaja and Jackson Bird the players missing out.
Clarke defended the decision to select Faulkner, which means only back-up wicketkeeper Matthew Wade of the 18-strong squad for the series has not been used.
"We are trying to win the Test match so the selectors have picked this side feeling this gives us the best chance," he said.
"I think you have to perform as a player and if you don't there's a chance you can be dropped. That's the life we live playing sport at the highest level. If you don't perform consistently there's a chance you can be dropped.
"As we have seen through this series the statistics, records, first-class performances haven't meant a lot. It's about finding a way over the five days to have success and I know James Faulkner has got the strength to do that with the bat or ball.
"I think it is an extra string to James' bow that he can bowl as many overs as possible - he is fit and strong and will play a big part with the ball, no doubt about that.
"He is an extra option to help us take 20 wickets but it is the overall package that James Faulkner brings. His toughness and performances of late in whatever format and the fact that he is not just a bowler. He can make some very handy runs for us."
Faulkner will bat at number seven with Shane Watson at three and Brad Haddin in at six. The Tasmanian made 29 not out in a two-day match against England Lions at Northampton over the weekend and Clarke has backed the debutant to perform from the off on his Test bow.
"He is like a lot of our young players - he is a wonderful talent but he's got the toughness to mix it with any opposition at the highest level," Clarke said.
"He is a fighter and a competitor and although he might not look the best all the time, he will do his best to stay out there and help his partner make a hundred or bat with the tail to help them through.
"He is extremely competitive with the ball. The better conditions there are for batting, the better bowler he is. I think he is the right character for this team and you will see how much talent he's got in this Test match.
"You've seen on this tour he's scored some very handy runs for us and I think he's been dismissed once in his last six innings, in tour games or one-day cricket.
"I think he's a tough competitor. He's an all-rounder. He provides that package which the selectors believe and I certainly believe that he'll play a big part in helping us take 20 wickets and score the runs we need to win."