Pace battle unfolds in first Ashes Test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Pace battle unfolds in first Ashes Test

By Adam Cooper 15/07/2005 06:06:48 AM Comments (0)

Australian pacemen Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz get their chance to push for selection in next Thursday's first Ashes Test when they play Leicestershire in the three-day cricket match.

The two quicks are fighting for the third pacemen's role behind Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee at Lord's, having refound their rhythm after struggling through the early stages of the tour.

McGrath and legspinner Shane Warne, the two 35-year-olds with 1,082 Test wickets between them, will sit out the match.

Aside from their absences, Australia has named a full-strength side, with wrist spinner Stuart MacGill to play in Warne's absence.

Leicestershire officials have beefed up security at Grace Road after Kasprowicz and batsman Michael Clarke had gear stolen the last time Australia played here, on June 11, after beating the county side in a one-day match.

A Leicestershire spokesman said the club had conducted an investigation after the thefts, which was ultimately fruitless, but had decided to increase the security presence around the ground.

West Australian batsman Chris Rogers will play for Leicestershire against his compatriots.

While Australia is yet to settle on the make-up of its pace attack, England finalised its side for the first Test by naming batsman Kevin Pietersen for his debut over Graham Thorpe, whose 100-Test career could be over.

England chairman of selectors David Graveney said the decision was the toughest he'd made in a decade as a selector, as both Pietersen, 25, and Thorpe, 35, had made compelling cases.

Pietersen and Thorpe both average in the mid-30s this first-class season, but Pietersen was favoured because of his brilliant one-day form over the past nine months and his limitless energy and confidence.

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