Amid the doom and gloom in the wake of Australia's heavy innings-and-71-run loss to England at Adelaide, there is some good news. Aussie seamer Ryan Harris who had picked up a serious shoulder injury towards the end of the match has been cleared to play in the next Test at Perth after medical scans showed that the damage isn't as severe as previously thought.
It seems Harris will have to "shoulder" the burden of getting Australia its breakthroughs in the upcoming Ashes encounter owing to facts that he emerged his side most promising bowler in the last match and that his fellow pacers - Peter Siddle and Dough Bollinger - failed miserably. Mitchell Johnson, who was dropped for the second Test, following a lacklustre none-for-170 statistic in the first, has been included for the Perth training sessions. But selectors are yet to take a call on his rejoinder with the side with the team due to be named on Friday, Dec 10.
A tough call also needs to be taken on the spinner's position. Xavier Doherty, who was far from effective in the last two Tests, may lose his place in the side to Nathan Hauritz. Earlier this week, Hauritz scored 146 as nightwatchman for New South Whales. But he will have to take some wickets in the second innings of that match to prove his worth.
Meanwhile England has not dearth of choices to fill the void of the injured seamer Stuart Broad. Back-up fast men Chris Tremlett, Ajmal Shahzad and Tim Bresnan are all in the running for a place in the England XI. Though they will all play in England's tour match against Victoria between Dec 10 and 12, coach Andy Flower says the final choice from the trio will not be decided on the basis of a bowl-off as he believes no player's potential can be determined on one match alone.
In the Australia A Vs England tour match last month, Tremlett was the most impressive of the trio, taking 7/121 in 41.1 overs. Bresnen also put in a fairly good performance with 6/151 in 41 overs, while Shahzad was less effective, ensnaring 3 wickets and conceding 126 runs in 40 overs.
As far a career stats go, the figures on paper look promising. Bresnan has played 5 Test so far, taking 14 wickets at an average of 35.14. Shahzad has made just one Test appearance, taking 4 wickets at 15.75, while Tremlett has played 3 Tests, scalping 13 at 29.69.
It will be interesting to see who among the three will make the final cut for the Perth Test and get the privilege of playing for England in an Ashes Test.