x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Physio for Michael Clarke as he aims to beat Ponting's calendar year run record

The Australian captain insists he will be fit to face Sri Lanka on Boxing Day - and take his last chance to break Ricky Ponting's record for Test runs in a calendar year.

Australia captain Michael Clarke talks to physio Alex Kountouris on the field against Sri Lanka.
Australia captain Michael Clarke talks to physio Alex Kountouris on the field against Sri Lanka.

Michael Clarke is confident he will be fit to lead Australia for the second Test against Sri Lanka next week - and his last chance to break Ricky Ponting's record for runs in a calendar year.

The Australian captain needs just 55 to equal Pointing's haul of 1544 Test runs, set in 2005, but the Melbourne Test against the visitors represents Clarke's last opportunity to take the record from his retired former teammate.

After suffering a hamstring injury in the closing stages of the 137-run win over Sri Lanka in Hobart this week, Clarke has now started an intensive physiotherapy campaign to ensure he can take to the field on Boxing Day.

"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 last night..

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.

Clarke was included in the 12-man squad announced for the second Test yesterday, with Usman Khawaja on standby in case he fails to recover.

"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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