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Green SCG pitch could favour Faulkner

By AAP .
2 January 2014 03:32PM EST

JAMES Faulkner's odds of playing in the fifth and final Ashes Test have shortened, with Michael Clarke admitting a seam-friendly SCG pitch will be crucial in team selection.

Faulkner is in line to replace under-pressure middle-order batsman George Bailey, and could benefit from an unusually green-tinged SCG wicket for the Test starting on Friday as Australia attempts to complete a 5-0 series whitewash of England.

Bailey has struggled in his debut Test series, averaging 27.20 with just one half-century.

By contrast, Faulkner is a bowling all-rounder with a terrific first class bowling average of 142 wickets at 23.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke says he's never seen more grass on an SCG pitch, predicting it'll suit his dominant pace battery in the fifth Ashes Test.

However, Sydneysider Clarke still believes spin will play a role in the Test starting on Friday at the traditionally spin-friendly venue.

"It might whiten up a little bit but that is as much grass as I have seen on an SCG pitch," said Clarke at his pre-match media conference on Thursday.

"It feels pretty hard at the moment.

"Looking at it today I think it will certainly suit the fast bowlers but the forecast for the week is pretty warm and I still believe that spin will play a part in the Test match."

Australia will attempt to complete a 5-0 series whitewash in the Test and tearaway speedster Mitchell Johnson is sure to relish the conditions.

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