Marcus North

  • Last Updated: December 9 2010, 10:46 GMT

Born: 28/07/1979Tests: 21Role: Middle-order batsmanRuns: 1171Average: 35.48100s: 5Highest score: 128

There has been much debate over the Australia number-six batting position, but North continues to defy his critics with crucial scores at crucial times.

The left-hander showed he has the mental strength to succeed at the highest level on debut with a battling 117 in tough conditions against South Africa in Johannesburg.

He knows what it takes to score big against England too, of his five Test centuries to-date, two have come against the old enemy - at Cardiff and Headingley in the 2009 Ashes series defeat.

He put his vast English county experience to good effect last time out, however he is yet to post a Test century in home conditions and will need to address that here.

North was handed a long overdue taste of international cricket at the start of 2009, having been expected to make the step up much earlier after a highly successful junior career.

His debut knock at the Wanderers helped lay the foundations for Australia to win the Test on their way to a 2-1 series victory, though North missed the last match due to illness.

His consistent performances in domestic cricket had seen him play for Australia A before he finally got his chance to earn a Baggy Green batting at six.

As well as his stylish batting, he is also a useful bowling option with his right-arm off-spin, claiming a Test-best haul of 6-55 in the first Test against Pakistan's at Lord's earlier this year.

His spin could play a major part in this series, especially if first-choice off-spinner Nathan Hauritz continues to struggle.

But it will be on his batting where North will be most fiercely judged, and this could well be the defining series of his career.