Ashes 2013: 'Unified' Australia set to face England at Lord's

Michael Clarke (right) said that the Australian team is united and are moving in the right direction © Getty Images

London: Jul 17, 2013

In the wake of sacked coach Mickey Arthur’s claims of factionalism in the team, Australia are unified to put up a strong show against England in the second Ashes Test beginning at Lord’s on Thursday.

Arthur on Wednesday claimed that skipper Michael Clarke had said that all-rounder Shane Watson and his faction is a “cancer” in the squad. He also alleged that he was made a victim of racial discrimination during his tenure.

The South African, sacked 16 days before the first Test, has sued Cricket Australia (CA) for cutting short his contract and is seeking up to $3.69 million in compensation.

In the first Test at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, hosts England sneaked in a 14-run win after Australia’s wicket-keeper batsman Brad Haddin and James Pattinson struck a 10th wicket partnership and almost achieved the impossible by taking their team home on the fifth day.

The eyes will again be on star pacer James Anderson, who clinched 10 wickets in the match at Trent Bridge and was later adjudged the man of the match.

For the Australians, 19-year-old Ashton Agar, who made a record 98 on debut and became the highest scoring No11 batsman, will be in the limelight and expected to perform again.

It was also announced on Wednesday that Queen Elizabeth II, sovereign of both nations, will be attending the first day of the Test.

“The team is as galvanised as I can remember any Australian team. All the boys are in a really good place and we’re looking forward to Thursday. We’ve got a fantastic group, with a great coach. He’s united us. We’re heading in the right direction,” Clarke told reporters on the eve of the match.