Match Day Centre Pakistan lead England by 166 runs with 2 wickets remaining

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Siddle stakes claim for Ashes place

Peter Siddle announced his return to fitness ahead of the Ashes campaign with a confident, wicket-taking display for Victoria against Tasmania.

The right-arm seamer collected 4-30 from 15.2 second innings overs to go alongside 2-45 in the fist innings.

Siddle had been sidelined with a stress fracture in his lower back and last played a Test in January against Pakistan in Hobart.

Ashes hopeful

Siddle, who turns 26 on day one of the first Test in Brisbane, has played 17 Tests for Australia, including all five matches in the 2009 Ashes in England.

He collected 20 wickets, second only to Ben Hilfenhaus in the top wicket-takers list, and earned plaudits with his appetite for hard-work.

Doug Bollinger has excelled in his place and will be favourite to start at The Gabba but the left-arm quick returned home injured after the first Test in India.

However, he has been cleared of any serious injury and is likely to return to first class action next month.

Siddle though has an opportunity to force his way into contention during the forthoming Twenty20 International and three match One Day International series against Sri Lanka.

Doherty pressures Hauritz

Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz may well be feeling the heat after the selection of left-arm orthodox bowler Xavier Doherty for the ODI series with Sri Lanka.

Hauritz had a disappointing tour of India as Australia lost the Test match series 2-0 and One Day series 1-0.

Tasmanian Doherty is mainly renowned for his one-day exploits but, fresh from his international call-up, he collected 5-83 for his native state side against Siddle’s Victoria.

Hauritz is expected to be Ricky Ponting’s slow bowling option on November 25 in Brisbane but the onus will remain on him to improve his performances between now and then.

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