Harris puts pain to one side as he answers call to arms
Ryan Harris. Pic: AAP

Ryan Harris has a knee that needs a clean-out. A hip that screams every time he moves. Blisters on his heels. Ankles that creak with shards of pain. A calf injury that swells and disrupts his good knee.

His sore spots ache uncontrollably; the rest of his body is just sore.

As Vivian Sternwood said to Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, "My, you're a mess, aren't you?"

"I haven't got enough time to explain them all," Harris said.

"I've got lots of things. It's just one of those things.

"You get up each morning and you get out of bed and the first few steps hurt, but you've got to get yourself up.

"You've got a big job to do."

The source of the paceman's pain is clear.

Harris has just completed nine consecutive Ashes Tests, during which he claimed 46 wickets at an average of 19.

Not since Glenn McGrath was in his pomp 15 years ago has an Australian quick taken at least 22 wickets in consecutive series.

The five Tests this summer came in 46 days and required Harris to bowl exactly 1000 balls in anger, as well as countless other deliveries in the nets and warm-ups.

That effort brought 22 wickets at 19.31.

Once a walking crock who battled to reach 130km/h as his State career meandered without direction, the remade 34-year-old will next month provide the other half of the pace-pincer movement that Australia intend to employ to knock off South Africa.

Harris will have an operation in April to get rid of the floating grit in his knee, but not before taking on the No.1 ranked Proteas.

Harris was the major beneficiary when England provided only tissue-thin resistance on the third day of the fifth Test.

A superb foil to Mitchell Johnson all summer, he was finally rewarded with a series of cheap tail-end wickets that provided his first five-wicket haul of the summer.

He claimed the final two within three deliveries in his 10th over to ignite intense celebrations on the field, in the SCG crowd and across the country.

"It was good to get a five for, even a token five for with the tail," Harris said.

"To get those last two wickets was just an amazing feeling.

"To know that we had won the series but we've also got the next day off, and that's the best thing.

"I know a few of the bowlers were getting a bit tired. I'm sure the England bowlers are too.

"Mitch was a bit tired, Sidds (Peter Siddle) and especially myself.

"We're going to wake up with a different sort of pain.

"It's not going to be the bowling pain."

The West Australian

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