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Page last updated at 09:00 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 10:00 UK

Harmison misses out on Test squad

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


Steve Harmison
Harmison took six wickets against Australia for England Lions

Steve Harmison has failed to make the 13-man England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia, which starts in Cardiff on Wednesday.

The paceman put himself in contention after taking six wickets for the England Lions against the tourists in a warm-up game but he has been left out.

England have picked the same 11 that played Warwickshire, with Ian Bell and Graham Onions being added to the side.

Spinners Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have been picked ahead of Adil Rashid.

Swann, the leading Test wicket taker in 2009, was certain to feature, while Yorkshireman leg spinner Rashid was hoping to be selected ahead of Panesar.

"It's an incredible feeling to be picked, I can't believe it," Swann told BBC Sport.

"I feel like a kid at Christmas and it's going to be absolutely brilliant. I'm very excited.

"I'm like a child when it comes to anything exciting and I'm bouncing off the walls."

The pitch at Cardiff is expected to take spin and England face the selection poser of whether to go for two spinners in their bowling attack.

Panesar took 3-10 in 7.4 overs in the drawn match against Warwickshire and, although he has been lacking form recently, England have gone for his experience against the younger Rashid.

All-rounder Andrew Flintoff will also return to the Test arena after recovering from a knee injury, which forced him to miss the 2-0 series victory over West indies.

He is expected to bat at number seven with keeper Matt Prior set for the number six slot.

606: DEBATE

"We were delighted with the way in which the team performed in the warm-up match at Edgbaston and it was very encouraging to see Andrew Flintoff bowl so well on his return to the side," said national selector Geoff Miller.

"We were keen to show consistency in selection and retain the nucleus of the side that performed so well against West Indies in the Test series earlier this summer.

"Graham Onions has made an excellent start to his Test career and gives us a different option when we consider the make-up of our bowling attack and the type of conditions we will encounter."

Onions took 10 wickets against West Indies earlier this summer and has been picked in the 13 ahead of not only Harmison but also left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom.

"There is healthy competition for places in our starting line-up at present," added Miller.

"The strong performance by the England Lions against Australia at Worcester demonstrated that we are starting to develop a larger squad of players who can compete effectively with international class players."

He bowls at over 90mph and, with his height, it's a pretty handy package

Aussie captain Ricky Ponting on Harmison

Harmison's inclusion was discussed by England selectors after his impressive display for the England Lions.

The Durham seamer took four wickets in Australia's first innings and then dismissed opener Phillip Hughes and skipper Ricky Ponting in the tourists' second innings on Friday.

He claimed the scalp of Hughes in both innings and exposed the opener's vulnerability against short-pitched bowling.

Harmison had played down his chances ahead of the squad announcement as he expected England to play with two spinners, while the form of his England rivals Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Onions put them ahead of him in the pecking order.

But Miller did give Harmison hope of a recall later in the series if the pitches suit his attributes of pace and steepling bounce.

"It's a long series, we've got five Test matches in all kinds of conditions. We need strength in depth," said Miller.

"We did talk about Steve and one or two others. We are in a nice position where we have got people who can come in at one or two minutes notice."

Australia captain Ponting is fully aware of the threat Harmison carries and hailed the bowler after the draw against the England Lions.

"Anyone who can bowl that sort of pace, with his height and the ability to swing the odd one away from the right-hander, you've got all the makings of one of the all-time great fast bowlers there's no doubt about that," said Ponting.

"He bowls at over 90mph and, with his height, it's a pretty handy package.

"I think we've known for a long time that he can be a quality bowler on his day and I think at different times during this game he's shown that."


England squad: Andrew Strauss (captain), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior, Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Jimmy Anderson, Monty Panesar, Ian Bell, Graham Onions.



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see also
Hauritz backed by coach Nielsen
05 Jul 09 |  Australia
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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