Sydney: Australia cricket captain Michael Clarke has returned to action after a six-week layoff due to a lingering back ailment.
Clarke, who hopes to be fit for the first Ashes test against England beginning Nov. 21 in Brisbane, won the toss for his New South Wales state XI on Wednesday and decided to bat first in a domestic first-class match against Tasmania.
The Australian skipper's back injury flared up late in the Ashes series in England, won 3-0 by the hosts.
Clarke was initially included in Australia's limited-overs squad for the ongoing series in India, but withdrew to have extensive therapy on his back. Clarke could potentially play two Shield matches before the Ashes series begins.
England plays its first tour match beginning Thursday against a Western Australia XI in Perth.