Australia retain Hayden, name three uncapped players for Sydney Test

December 30th, 2008 - 6:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 30 (IANS) Australia has retained out of form opener Matthew Hayden and called up three uncapped players, pacemen Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus and all-rounder Andrew McDonald, for the inconsequential third Test against South Africa in Sydney from Saturday. Fast bowling spearhead Brett Lee, allrounders Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson have been left out due to injuries as selectors picked up a 12-member squad here Tuesday.

Bollinger and McDonald replaced Lee, who has injured his left foot, and Watson, who also has suffered stress fractures of the back. McDonald will replace Symonds, who was picked for the second Test despite an injured knee.

“Unfortunately Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson have been ruled out of the next Test match through injury. Brett and Shane’s injury may keep them out of the game for a while whereas Andrew Symonds will undergo knee surgery and hopefully his absence from the team will be short-lived,” said Andrew Hilditch, chairman of selectors.

He said that both Bollinger and Hilfenhaus were selected after their exceptional Sheffield Shield season with New South Wales and Tasmania respectively.

“The National Selection Panel has introduced Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus to the squad. Both are having exceptional Sheffield Shield seasons and their ability to move the ball will add depth to the bowling attack, albeit that they have big shoes to fill in those of Lee,” said Hilditch.

“Andrew McDonald has been a very consistent all-rounder for Victoria for several seasons. He is in very good form and as well as batting in the top six will give us the flexibility we need with our bowling attack.”

Hilditch said that it was disappointing to lose the series after being in winning positions in both matches. He also said that it was a challenging time for the team, which was going through a rebuilding process after the retirement of several top players.

“While it’s a challenging time for Australian cricket we have seen lots of positive signs from our young players and we are looking forward to the process of rebuilding Australian cricket,” he added.

There was also much speculation that Hayden would be dropped to blood a new opener before the tour of South Africa, but the loss of so many experienced players through injury have saved him.

The squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper), Andrew McDonald, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus.

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