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Hilfenhaus is back, Hughes and Khawaja out

india Updated: Dec 22, 2011 01:52 IST

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Ed Cowan will open the batting on his debut for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against India after being included in an extended a 13-strong squad named on Wednesday.

Australia blooded three new caps in this month's series against New Zealand and Cowan will ensure a fourth at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with all-rounder Dan Christian a possible fifth if Shaun Marsh fails to prove his fitness.

Lefthander Cowan has been in fine form for Tasmania this season and scored a timely 109 against India in Canberra on Tuesday. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/HTEditImages/Images/22-12-11-metro20e.jpg

“Ed Cowan’s very good form has been compelling in him being included... and the intention is he will open the batting with David Warner,” chief selector John Inverarity told in Perth.

Opener Phil Hughes, as expected, lost his place in the team after a miserable series against the Black Caps and Usman Khawaja also paid the price for repeated failures with the bat.

A lower back injury to top order batsman Marsh, rated as “unlikely" to be fit only last week, forced selectors to name uncapped Christian as back-up.

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Dan Christian, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon