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Clarke praises brutal Aussie quicks
By Justin Chadwick
17:47 AEST Thu Jan 31 2013

Australia's pacemen have wreaked havoc on their own teammates this week, and skipper Michael Clarke doesn't want it any other way.

Opener David Warner was left nursing a fractured thumb on Wednesday after being struck by a fearsome Mitchell Johnson delivery in the WACA Ground nets.

Then on Thursday, Clarke sent a scare through Australia's camp when he was struck in the ribs by a peach of a delivery from fit-again speedster James Pattinson.

Although Warner is expected to be fit in time for the four-Test tour of India, his hopes of appearing in the five-match one-day series against the West Indies were all but shattered.

Clarke, on the other hand, is good to go for Friday's series opener against the West Indies at the WACA, and said he had no problems with his bowlers going full throttle at training.

"I certainly know Mitch didn't mean to hit him (Warner)," Clarke said.

"And I've got a sore rib from James Pattinson.

"But that's the way it goes. That's how I expect all of us to train.

"The last thing I want to do is walk into a net where guys are bowling medium pace. If you want to be the best, you've got to train against the best.

"That's part of the challenge every day in this group. You are going to face our fast bowlers bowling fast with brand new balls.

"Sometimes, in conditions like this, it's very tough. But I guarantee it will help your batting."

The West Indies will be spared the wrath of Pattinson, who flew back to Victoria on Thursday in preparation to play club cricket on the weekend.

But Johnson will relish a fast and bouncy WACA wicket on Friday when he spearheads an attack that also features Mitchell Starc, Clint McKay and debutant James Faulkner.

Batsman Usman Khawaja, who scored 69 for the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies on Tuesday, is a confirmed starter on Friday after replacing Warner in the squad.

But there was no room for quick Ben Cutting and spinner Xavier Doherty in the final XI.

Clarke, who missed the final ODI against Sri Lanka due to an ankle injury, said he was feeling fit and ready to fire against the West Indies.

"I feel really good. My ankle's come along really well after spraining it in Hobart," said Clarke, who also battled hamstring issues earlier this summer.

"I'm at full fitness. I've been doing all my running.

"I've had plenty of batting since I've been here, some bowling and lots of fielding. I'm 100 per cent and looking forward to being out there."

Australia, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Sri Lanka in the recent ODI series before losing both T20 encounters, are desperate to put the West Indies under the pump early.

Australian team: Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Clint McKay, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, Usman Khawaja.


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