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Page last updated at 13:55 GMT, Monday, 13 December 2010

Australia spinner Michael Beer poised for Ashes debut

Third Ashes Test: Australia v England
Venue: Perth Dates: 16-20 December Start time: 0230 GMT
Coverage: Listen live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; highlights (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4

Michael Beer
Beer is the 10th spinner to play for Australia since Shane Warne retired

Spinner Michael Beer hopes success in last month's tour game with England will help as he prepares for his Test bow for Australia in Perth on Thursday.

The 26-year-old dismissed Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell and Matt Prior in the first innings, and Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood in the second.

"I'll take a fair bit out of that contest with them. I enjoyed that and learnt from it," the left-armer said.

"I think it will definitely help being in the same surroundings."

Beer, who recorded figures of 3-108 and 2-99 for Western Australia in that six-wicket defeat by England, is the latest in a long list of spinners to be tried by Australia.

Another slow left-armer, Xavier Doherty, began the current Ashes series but after match figures of 2-148 at Brisbane and 1-158 in the innings defeat at Adelaide he has been omitted.

Now the Australian selectors have gambled on the selection of Beer, who has played only six first-class matches and taken 16 wickets in 10 innings at an average of over 40.

Asked how he is adjusting to the scrutiny of a Test call-up, Beer - who grew up in Melbourne but moved to Perth this year after failing to break into the Victoria team - said: "I don't think it has fully sunk in yet.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge. I'm confident of my own ability in a contest, so hopefully that comes out shining.

"It's a matter of me knowing my role and trying to execute it as best I can. It will vary and see what situation the game is in and the conditions.

"I love a challenge. I'm just running off that at the moment."

Former Australia spinner Peter Taylor, who was picked from obscurity to play in the final Test of the 1986-87 Ashes series, says he identifies with Beer's surprise selection.

"When I was picked I remember trying to understand why they had picked me," said Taylor, who played 13 Tests for Australia until 1991, claiming 27 wickets at a cost of 39.55.

"But he (Beer) has got to try and block out all that extraneous stuff and journalists asking him to justify why he's been picked.

"Given it's an unusual situation he finds himself in, he's just got to make the most of it.

"For a bloke like him it's a great opportunity. He can't be intimidated. He's just got to get on there and do his job. He's obviously an accomplished player or they wouldn't have picked him."


Taylor, who retired in the early nineties and now runs a farm in the north-west new South Wales town of Moree, admits he finds it difficult to see the present day team losing to England.

"I am very disappointed when I see Australia struggle," he said.

"It means a lot to me and every ex-player to see them playing well. I find it really disappointing when I see great players not playing to their potential and we've got a little bit of that at the moment.

"Playing for Australia is a great privilege - it's not a right - and it hurts to lose and it should hurt. I'm sure they are feeling that and hopefully they bounce back in the next few Tests."

Meanwhile, England team director Andy Flower is keeping his cards close to his chest over who from Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad will replace the injured Stuart Broad at Perth.

Broad, ruled out of the rest of the series with an abdominal injury, is joining the BBC Test Match Special team as an expert summariser for the third Test.

Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (capt), Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Beer.

England (from): Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wk), Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad, Chris Tremlett, Eoin Morgan, Steven Davies.

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see also
Monday's Ashes gossip column
13 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Flower guarded on Tremlett pick
13 Dec 10 |  England
Broad to join Test Match Special
13 Dec 10 |  Test Match Special
Justin Langer's column
13 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Australia ring changes for Perth
10 Dec 10 |  England
Harris passed fit for Perth Test
09 Dec 10 |  Australia
Ponting backing Hughes for Perth
08 Dec 10 |  Australia
Strauss confident of series win
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Katich set to miss rest of series
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
Ponting urges Aussie improvement
07 Dec 10 |  Australia
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Injured Broad ruled out of Ashes
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
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