Australia will wait until the very last minute to decide if Michael Clarke has recovered sufficiently from a hamstring injury to lead the side out for the second test against Sri Lanka at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day.
Clarke was forced to retire hurt while batting on the fourth day of the opening match of the series in Hobart and while Australia are reluctant to risk aggravating the injury further, the 31-year-old has shown improvement over the last few days.
The leading test run scorer this year put himself through batting and fielding practice on Tuesday and sounded confident he would be fit to start the match.
"I'm still pretty positive I'll be right for tomorrow," he told a media conference. "I haven't run at 100% but I've certainly built up over the last three days."
Clarke said he was "improving every day" but would have to wait until the morning of the match to see if there was any reaction to Tuesday's practice.
Waiting in the wings should Clarke not make the test is top-order batsman Usman Khawaja, though coach Mickey Arthur was leaning towards the skipper taking the field. "If I was a betting man I'd bet on Michael Clarke leading the team out on Boxing Day," he said.