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Cricket | International

Clarke in race to be fit for 2nd test



Australian captain Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit for the second test against Sri Lanka and started an intensive physio campaign on Wednesday to overcome a hamstring strain.

The world's leading test batsman suffered the twinge in his team's 137-run win over the tourists in Hobart this week and he is racing the clock to recover in time for the next encounter in Melbourne from December 26.

"I know I'm in great hands with (team physio) Alex (Kountouris) and I know how great a physio he is," said Clarke, who reclaimed the top spot in the ICC test batsman rankings released Tuesday evening.

Clarke, who entered the Hobart test trailing Shivnarine Chanderpaul by just one ratings point, now leads the West Indian by nine points after knocks of 74 and 57.

"Obviously my preparation will be a little bit different to the lead-up to this test match but I've done a fair bit of batting throughout the summer so I'm confident," he added.

The prolific Clarke needs just 55 runs to equal Ricky Ponting's Australian record of 1 544 test runs in a calendar year, set in 2005. The Melbourne test is the last chance to overhaul his now retired former teammate.

Clarke was included in the 12-man squad announced Tuesday with Usman Khawaja on standby. The Pakistan-born Khawaja played the last of his six tests against New Zealand in Hobart a year ago.

"I'm really confident that with seven, eight days' turnaround (the injury will heal)," added Clarke.

"I'll be giving myself every opportunity, that's for sure."



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