Test captain Michael Clarke will be rested from next week's crucial clash between WA and NSW in Canberra that should decide which team qualifies for the Sheffield Shield final.

But Test stars Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon will play for the Blues after returning from South Africa yesterday.

Shaun Marsh, who was dumped for the series decider in Cape Town despite making a comeback century in the first Test against the Proteas, will play for WA.

He is likely to replace his injured brother Mitch in the Warriors team to play at Manuka Oval.

The loss of Mitch Marsh may upset WA's balance, with another bowling option likely to be considered to bolster the team.

A NSW spokesman said Clarke would not play in Canberra after four intense months of international cricket but was eager to return for the shield final, should the Blues make it.

WA, South Australia, NSW and Queensland can all host the final.

The top three teams are on 26 points each but the Warriors have an advantage because they have four outright wins to the three of the other candidates.

Under the shield final qualification rules, teams are ranked on points, then outright wins, then their quotient.

WA should guarantee they host the final by beating NSW or managing a first innings win in a draw as long as the Redbacks do not win outright. WA's quotient is 1.052 compared with SA's 1.148 and NSW's 1.050.

SA are set to be without captain Johan Botha when they take on Tasmania at Bellerive Oval.

Botha was suspended for a match after being found guilty of using abusive language to the umpires and "repeated inappropriate conduct relating to the condition of the match ball".

It is understood he hurled the ball into the ground after disagreeing with several umpiring decisions during the tense final overs of the draw with NSW.

The West Australian

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