Cummins, Watson sidelined again for 2nd Test vs NZ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Cummins, Watson sidelined again for 2nd Test vs NZ

cricket Updated: Dec 05, 2011 13:44 IST

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James Pattinson's five-wicket haul in a commanding victory in the series-opening match against New Zealand on the weekend has erased any need for a rushed recall for 18-year-old Australian paceman Pat Cummins for the second Test starting Friday in Hobart.

Australia selectors announced the squad on Monday, retaining the 11 players who combined to beat New Zealand by nine wickets on Sunday.

The only change to the first test squad is the inclusion of allrounder Daniel Christian in place of fast bowler Ben Cutting, who missed out on the starting XI for Brisbane and then injured himself playing for Queensland in an interstate match against Victoria.

The 18-year-old Cummins was the star of Australia's series-leveling win in South Africa in November, taking six second-innings wickets and then hitting the winning runs in a stunning test debut. But he injured his left heel and wasn't considered for the first test of the Australian summer, along with four other frontline players.

Pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson will be out for five months after surgery on his left foot, while Cummins, Shane Watson (hamstring) and Ryan Harris (hip) and top-order batsman Shaun Marsh (back) will all get more time to recover from the injuries which forced them out of the first test.

Chief selector John Inverarity said Cutting would be sidelined for "some weeks" and Christian had been called up for the Hobart test after performing well as an allrounder for South Australia.

Phillip Hughes' opening spot was in danger after making scores of just 10 and 7 against New Zealand but the continued rehabilitation period for Marsh and Watson has taken some pressure off him.

Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Cummins, Watson and Marsh were all likely to be available for selection for the first of four tests against India starting on Dec. 26 at Melbourne. Harris will be monitored after he returns to training this week.

After struggling with the ball in the first innings against New Zealand, Pattinson stunned the New Zealand batsmen in an explosive opening over on Sunday, when he took three wickets and narrowly missed a hat-trick. He finished with 5-27.

"James Pattinson's performance on debut will provide a great boost not only the team as a whole but to those who are new to the team in particular," Inverarity said.

Three players fast bowlers Pattinson and Mitchell Starc and opening batsman David Warner were on debut last week, making it one of the least experienced Australian test lineups in decades. The bowling attack had a combined 30 test caps and there was grave concern about how the youngsters would handle the step up to test cricket.

Australia had taken a 132-run first-innings lead after posting 427 in reply to New Zealand's 295, and Pattinson had the visitors in trouble in the second innings late on the third day when he removed dangerous opener Brendon McCullum just before stumps.

The 21-year-old paceman then removed Martin Guptill, Kane Williams and Ross Taylor in the first over on the fourth day, and dismissed night-watchman Doug Bracewell soon as Australia bowled New Zealand out for 150 and wrapped up the match inside four days.

Inverarity said Christian was drafted to give skipper Michael Clarke more options in attack.

"The balance of a team is always enhanced by the presence of an energetic allrounder who is in good form," Inverarity said.

Ex-skipper Ricky Ponting and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin seem to have ensured their spots, despite criticism coming into the summer, with good knocks of 78 and 80, and Clarke scored his third century in six innings to mark the start of his first series on Australian soil as captain.