Skipper Clarke declared fit to play

Michael Clarke will lead Australia in the Boxing Day Test after convincing fellow selectors he had recovered from the hamstring strain he suffered in last week's series opener against Sri Lanka in Hobart.

The captain trained strongly on Tuesday at the MCG, but stressed a decision would be left until the morning of the match. Cricket Australia confirmed on Wednesday morning Clarke would play, discarding the need for Shane Watson to captain the team and Usman Khawaja to come into the line-up in place of Clarke.

Tasmania seamer Jackson Bird was presented with his baggy green cap before play and will become Australia 431st Test player.

Bird is one of two inclusions in the Australian team, with he and Mitch Johnson replacing the injured Ben Hilfenhaus and the rested Mitch Starc.

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