Australia’s Ashes campaign will receive a much-needed boost when captain Michael Clarke plays his first game of cricket in more than three months against Somerset from Wednesday.

Veteran batsman Chris Rogers won’t play in the first of two warm-up matches, which suggests the selectors are happy with his form leading into the first Test at Trent Bridge from July 10. Instead, Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja will have a chance to plump for Ashes spots in Darren Lehmann’s first game as coach.

Rogers is coming off a county season in which he has churned out 790 runs and is well-placed to open in the first Test.

Haddin did not know the batting order for the county game but the match also gives Shane Watson a chance to shore up his position after a lean two years with the bat.

Clarke hasn’t played competitive cricket since the third Test of Australia’s rotten India tour in March.

“Michael is playing. It’s great news, it’s the first game on tour and the Australian captain is pretty excited to play. He is in a good spot, he had a good catch and a bit of a hit,” said vice-captain Brad Haddin after training in Taunton.

“We’ve got another game just before the Test so it was important that we wanted to give this group a hit. It makes sense that Chris has been playing a lot of cricket over the last couple of months so he is in pretty good touch.”

Suspended batsman David Warner and recent squad addition Steve Smith will miss the tour match.

The two fast bowlers who have just returned from injury, Ryan Harris and Jackson Bird, will sit out the Somerset game but a team spokesman said they were not hurt. At team spokesman said Harris had pulled up well from his comeback from injury against Gloucestershire and the decision rest him for this game was part of his plan to be ready for the Ashes.

James Faulkner, the left-arm quick who can bat at No.7, rounds out a five-man bowling attack.

Australian team v Somerset, batting order to be determined: Ed Cowan, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Phillip Hughes, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, James Faulkner, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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