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Hughes to open with Katich, McGain makes comeback

Youngster Phillip Hughes will replace retired opener Matthew Hayden as one of the most inexperienced squads was named to defend Australia's top position on their crucial three-Test tour of South Africa.

cricket Updated: Feb 05, 2009 10:54 IST

Youngster Phillip Hughes will replace retired opener Matthew Hayden as one of the most inexperienced squads was named to defend Australia's top position on their crucial three-Test tour of South Africa.

Australia, who lost 1-2 at home against South Africa, are in a must-win situation to retain its number number 1 Test ranking. South Africa have already toppled the World Champions from top of the ICC ODI ranking table.

The 20-year-old Hughes, who has scored 891 runs at an average of 74 this season, pipped veteran Phil Jacques, who is returning from an injury, for the slot at top of the batting order in the 14-member squad.

"Phillip has been given the fairly daunting task of filling in the shoes of one of Australia's greatest batsmen Matthew Hayden. Phillip is a young man who has had an outstanding debut in first-class cricket for New South Wales," National Selection Panel Chairman Andrew Hilditch said.

"Phil Jaques has not been selected in the squad. Phil has bravely come back from back surgery in an attempt to make himself available for the tour, but in the NSP's view, he has simply not played enough cricket since surgery to force his way into the team," he said.

36-year-old Victorian Bryce McGain was also included in the squad after he returned home from India without playing a single match owing to an injury.