Australia include Hauritz, retain Symonds for Boxing Day Test

December 25th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 25 (IANS) Australia captain Ricky Ponting said on the eve of the Boxing Day cricket Test against South Africa that the only change in his side from the eleven that lost the first one in Perth is that off-spinner Nathan Hauritz comes in for Jason Krejza. Krejza, who had a fantastic debut against India, taking 12 wickets last month, had match figures of one for 204 in Perth.

There was speculation that Victorian paceman Peter Siddle, who also only took one wicket in Perth in his second Test and first on home soil, would be replaced by either Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus or Queensland all-rounder Shane Watson, but he retains his place.

Ponting said he would keep all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the side despite a sore knee, which will hamper the Queenslander from bowling much.

Ponting said apart from the one change, the team management was happy with the rest of the players.

As for Symonds, he said he trained well in the last couple of days. In the last three or four days his knee had improved dramatically from where it was at the end of the Perth game.

“He feels a lot better and he has had a number of scans. It is really now just about management through this game and then through the next (Sydney) Test match.”

Symonds didn’t bowl in South Africa’s second innings in Perth and will be able to bowl off-spin in Melbourne, but not his medium-pacers, Ponting said.

Australia trail 0-1 in the three-match series and will lose top ranking to the Proteas if they go down 3-0.

Ponting said Australia had toyed with the idea of going into the Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with an all-pace attack, using the part-time spin of Symonds and Michael Clarke, but decided to play Hauritz, who took four wickets in the second Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last month.

South Africa are playing the side which won the Perth Test by six wickets, with vice-captain Ashwell Prince’s injured thumb failing to pass the fitness test.

South Africa is on the verge of the greatest Test series win in its history and skipper Graeme Smith said he was surprised at the upheaval in the Australian camp.

“I was surprised at some of the statements and media reports after the Perth Test match,” Smith said.

“It wasn’t something that I expected, we have played against Australia for a period of time and they have always looked composed and well directed in the ways they want to go.

“From the psychological aspect I think from our point of view we have a lot more in the tank.”

Both sides worked out at the MCG Thursday before having family lunches for Christmas Day.

A crowd of 70,000 is expected on Boxing Day, and fine and sunny conditions have been forecast.


Australia: Ricky Ponting (Captain), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle.

South Africa: Graeme Smith (Captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Jean-Paul Duminy, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.

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