Sydney: Michael Beer has played just seven first-class games and has never appeared at the Sydney Cricket Ground but Australian skipper Michael Clarke on Sunday backed him to have a major impact on his Test debut.
Left-arm spinner Beer will play alongside fellow debutant Usman Khawaja in Monday's fifth and final Ashes Test against England as Australia attempt to level the series after seeing their chance of winning back the Ashes slip away.
Beer, 26, will become Australia's 10th Test spinner since the 2007 retirement of Shane Warne when he plays at the SCG for the first time. But Clarke, who made 151 on his Test debut against India in 2004, does not believe that lack of experience with the Sydney conditions will affect Beer's performance.
"We all made our debut (somewhere)," Clarke told reporters. "I made my debut in Bangalore and I'd never been to Bangalore before, never seen that change room, never played a game on that wicket. It's no different."
Clarke, who is standing in as skipper for the injured Ricky Ponting, said the atmosphere of a 46,000-capacity SCG and the backing of home support should be enough to lift Beer.
Beer is in his first full season with Western Australia after moving from Victoria, where he played club cricket. But after being 12th man for Australia in the Perth and Melbourne Tests, Clarke believes Beer has earned the opportunity to play at the highest level.
"He's lucky enough to make his Test debut at the SCG in front of a full house," Clarke said. "I think it's exciting. He's been around the group for a couple of weeks now and dying for an opportunity. Now, he's got that. On this pitch, which I think will certainly spin, definitely late in the game, I see him having a big impact."
Since Warne, Australia have selected spinners Nathan Hauritz, Stuart MacGill, Brad Hogg, Jason Krejza, Cameron White, Beau Casson, Steven Smith, Bryce McGain and Xavier Doherty in Tests.
Australia, who trail 2-1 in the series, will also use the leg-spin of Smith in the final Test on a traditional SCG turning pitch.