The Ashes: Beer can be the toast of Australia

Australia spinner Steve Smith has backed Michael Beer to make an impact if he is called upon to make his debut in the third Ashes Test.

With just five first-class games and 16 wickets to his name, 26-year-old Beer is one of Australia's biggest selection gambles since fellow spinner Peter Taylor was plucked from obscurity to play in the fifth

Ashes Test during the 1986/87 series.

Beer himself admitted on Monday he may not be ready for Test cricket but Smith, who was also included in the squad for the clash in Perth, believes he could be Australia's secret weapon.

"I faced him (Beer) out here in the Shield game a couple of weeks ago and he did a good job," said Smith.

"Beery's come in and he's fitting in beautifully, he's bowled quite well the last couple of weeks. He's very excited, everyone's excited for him and yeah, I think he'll make a good impact in this side."

Smith's thoughts were echoed by WACA groundsman Cameron Sutherland, who felt spinners could have a big impact despite the wicket being known for assisting the quicks.

He said: "I think a spinner can play a role, absolutely. Throughout the WACA history there's always been spinners that have bowled really well here, especially into the breeze with that bit of bounce."

Although Australia could still take four fast bowlers into the clash with England on what is expected to be a bouncy wicket, it looks more likely by the day that one paceman will be sacrificed to accommodate a specialist spinner, as Smith has been primarily selected as a number six batsman to replace the dropped Marcus North.

But while Smith is intent on taking his opportunity with the bat, he believes maintaining team morale, something which appeared particularly low at times during the first two Tests, is also part of his brief.

"For me, it's about having the energy in the field and make sure I'm having fun," said Smith.

"And (it's about) making sure everyone else around is having fun, whether it be telling a joke or something like that out on the field.

"It's to make sure that we're all upbeat and we're ready to go, I think that's something that I can bring to this side."

One of the pacemen likely to be included is Mitchell Johnson, who missed the defeat in Adelaide after a dismal display in the opener in Brisbane.

It had been thought Johnson had been dropped due to his figures of no wickets for 170 runs at the Gabba but selector Greg Chappell has now claimed he was always set to miss the second Test in a bid to keep him fresh.

"We didn't plan for Mitch to struggle in Brisbane, but certainly we had made plans beforehand to leave him out of the second Test because we felt the conditions would have suited Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger," Chappell told the Herald.

"Mitch was certainly out of sorts. It was always dependent of form, if he had brained them in Brisbane we would have given him consideration for Adelaide, but with five Tests in seven weeks we felt we needed to

mix and match the attack to suit the conditions. It is a marathon.

"We planned before the series that we wanted him up and running for

Brisbane and Perth. It hasn't all gone to plan, we need him to find form and to have confidence going into the Perth Test and be a match winner."

Chappell remains confident Australia can turn around a 1-0 deficit over the next three Tests.

He added: "There is a lot of cricket left in this series yet. We believe we will put the best group we can come up with out there, and then it is up to the players out there to do their job.

"We weren't able to execute in Adelaide; we need to execute in Perth and keep the Test series going. We're very confident we can do that.

"There is not too much difference between the two sides other than confidence and form, and they can be fleeting things. It doesn't take too much to change that.

"We didn't make it too hard for them in the last game, and we need to put them under pressure."

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