Harmison still a doubt
England fast bowler Steve Harmison worked out in the Adelaide Oval nets yesterday, a day after a side strain left him out of his team's tour match against South Australia and in doubt for the first Ashes test. England coach Duncan Fletcher said that Harmison, who received a cortisone injection, would need to prove that the injury would not affect his bowling before the first test begins on Thursday. "He's not guaranteed for Brisbane with that problem he's had before," Fletcher said. "So we'll just have to see how this injection goes and what effect it has on him. We're not going to guarantee it, but we're planning, if he's fine tomorrow and it's not as bad as it was, we'll give him a bowl and see how he feels with it."
Clarke added as cover
Batsman Michael Clarke was yesterday added to Australia's squad for next week's first Test as cover for injured Shane Watson. Watson is still to be assessed by Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris but selectors indicated they would not replace him with another allrounder if Watson is ruled out of the Ashes opener. Watson strained his right hamstring while bowling in a domestic one-day game in Perth on Friday and was expected to arrive in Brisbane late yesterday. Cricket Australia said it did not expect to know the severity of Watson's injury until Sunday. Clarke's inclusion indicates Australia's selectors may opt for the extra batsman if they lose the allrounder to bolster the batting line-up. Clarke, 25, played all five Ashes Tests last year, and scored 335 runs at 37.22. He lost his place in the Test team last Australian summer and regained it in Bangladesh in April, although he failed to seal his spot with scores of 19, nine and 23 not out.
TV host goes undercover
Hugh Jackman, one of Australia's best-known film stars, upped the Ashes ante on Friday, unveiling a reality TV series in which an Australian infiltrates the ranks of England's notorious Barmy Army. In the Hollywood film star and producer's first series for Australian television, An Aussie goes Barmy, Jackman dares his British-based best friend to penetrate the British cabal of cricket fanatics on the Ashes tour. In the five-part documentary, starting Nov. 29, Gus Worland, who has known Jackman since childhood, must put his patriotism on the line to find out what makes the English cricket fans tick as a group. Worland, 37, will be decked out in Australia's national colors -- green and gold -- in the midst of thousands of English fans at each Test match. In each episode Worland will join a different faction of English fans, take part in their parties and compete in matches between the Barmy Army and the Fanatics -- Australia's equivalent. However, if England triumphs -- or draws to retain the Ashes -- Worland faces the unpleasant fate of surrendering his allegiance and joining the Barmy Army full-time.
Schembechler passes away
US college football coaching legend Bo Schembechler died of heart failure after collapsing at a television studio in Detroit, Michigan, on Friday. He was 77. Schembechler, who had two heart attacks and suffered from diabetes, had a pacemaker implanted on Oct. 23 after a previous episode at the studio. Born Glenn Schembechler, he won a Michigan school-record 194 games and won or shared 13 Big Ten titles.