Australia v England preview
Uncapped England bowler Scott Borthwick is fired up and ready for action should he get the nod for the final Ashes Test in Sydney.
The tourists are desperate to avoid a series whitewash after a miserable winter in Australia and may opt to hand the Durham leg spinner a debut with Monty Panesar struggling with a niggling calf injury.
Kent off-spinner James Tredwell is another possibility for Andy Flower's beleaguered men who opted out of their scheduled early morning net session on New Year's Day but did have an extended fielding session on the SCG outfield.
It is quite a turnaround for Borthwick whose packing for a return home from playing Sydney Grade cricket was interrupted just before Christmas by a phone call from Flower informing him he was needed instead in Melbourne.
"It was amazing," the 23-year-old said. "I was due to fly home last Monday, and then go on the Lions tour to Sri Lanka.
"But I got the call from Andy to fly to Melbourne. Obviously I'd seen [Graeme Swann] had retired, but I didn't think anything of it. I didn't think I'd be here. But I am now. It's been an amazing two weeks. I'm thrilled."
After being asked if he was ready to face the rampant hosts, he added: "I hope so. I've never played Test cricket before, so don't know that feeling. But being around an Ashes squad really excites me."
Australia's Brad Haddin, who played Grade cricket alongside Borthwick earlier this winter, has already insisted their batsmen will be aiming to dominate him if he is picked.
Borthwick, though, remains level-headed about the impending challenge and said: "Leg-spin is hard. You've got to accept you are going to bowl bad balls, and blokes are going to come after you.
"I think as a leg-spinner, you've got to accept that and show a bit of fight, try to get competitive and spin the ball past them. When batters do come at you, it gives you a chance to get wickets."
Teams for the fifth Ashes Test, starting at the SCG on Friday, January 3 at 1030am (1130pm Thursday GMT): England (possible): AN Cook (Captain), JE Root, IR Bell, KP Pietersen, GS Ballance, BA Stokes, JM Bairstow (wkt), SCJ Broad, JC Tredwell, JM Anderson, WB Rankin
Australia (probable): MJ Clarke (Captain), CJL Rogers, DA Warner, SR Watson, SPD Smith, GJ Bailey, BJ Haddin (wkt), MG Johnson, PM Siddle, RJ Harris, NM Lyon