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Page last updated at 14:39 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 15:39 UK

Hauritz backed by coach Nielsen

First Ashes Test: England v Australia
Venue: The Swalec Stadium, Cardiff Date: 8-12 July
Coverage: Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra, BBC Radio 4 Long Wave, Red Button and BBC Sport website, plus live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles. Live on Sky Sports

Nathan Hauritz
Hauritz is yet to find his best form while on tour

Australia spinner Nathan Hauritz's hopes of being selected for the first Ashes Test have been boosted after he was backed by coach Tim Nielsen.

Hauritz is the only specialist spinner in the 16-strong Australian party but has struggled with his form.

He took combined figures of 2-260 from his two appearances against Sussex at Hove and England Lions at New Road.

But Nielsen said: "Nathan has got better and better as we have gone on - I feel he has improved."

However, Nielsen will make no decision on whether to play Hauritz on Wednesday until he has viewed the Cardiff wicket.

Nielsen said: "We won't know until we get to Cardiff what side to select and the conditions will be critical.


"Nathan is comfortable with how his game is progressing. He was below his best in the first innings at Hove and the wicket didn't offer a lot of spin or bounce at Worcester but at least he was able to get some rhythm.

"He changed his pace a lot more and was able to cause a few more issues out of the rough for their left-handers.

"Remembering England's Test squad usually has three left-handers to finish their order off and two at the top, an off-spinner will be pretty handy in that regard."

Nielsen is happy with the progress Australia have made during the past few weeks before the Ashes gets under way after their early elimination from the ICC World Twenty20 competition.

He said: "I think the whole three weeks we have been here has been spot-on. We've been lucky to have had no rain. It has not interrupted preparation.

"We've been able to up the tempo the whole way through ahead of Wednesday. There was no point in us being at our absolute best a week-and-a-half ago."

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see also
Harmison misses out on Test squad
05 Jul 09 |  England
Australia draw with England Lions
04 Jul 09 |  Australia
Ashes warm-up photos
04 Jul 09 |  England
Harmison detects Aussie weakness
02 Jul 09 |  England
England omit Vaughan and Harmison
22 Jun 09 |  England
Flintoff shines on shock return
11 Jun 09 |  Lancashire
I'll be fit for Ashes - Flintoff
09 Jun 09 |  England
Australia in England 2009
20 Sep 09 |  England

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