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Australia recall Hilfenhaus for Boxing Day Test

Australia have brought back workhorse paceman Ben Hilfenhaus into the Test fold in place of youngster Mitchell Starc for the first Test against India, which starts on Monday.

india Updated: Dec 24, 2011 08:53 IST
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Workhorse Ben Hilfenhaus has been brought back into the test fold after a year in the freezer to add swing to Australia's pace attack for the first test against India starting on Monday.

The 28-year-old Tasmanian was dropped after a poor series against England earlier this year and criticised for becoming predictable, but he has worked his way back into the side with strong form in domestic cricket.

Hilfenhaus replaces Mitchell Starc from the team that lost the second test to New Zealand and joins fellow pacemen Peter Siddle and James Pattinson for the Boxing Day test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Nathan Lyon retains his place as the lone specialist spinner, with all rounder Shane Watson yet to recover from injury.

"He's a very good new ball bowler and he can bowl longer spells and he's had success against India as well," Australia captain Michael Clarke told reporters of Hilfenhaus, who has worked on his variation after overcoming a series of injury niggles.

Starc may count himself unlucky after showing promising signs in his debut test series against New Zealand, but took few wickets and let himself down with loose patches, which would be severely punished against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman.

"Mitch is obviously disappointed, he would have liked the chance, but he understands the reasons," added Clarke. "He's just got to keep working hard on his game and continue to improve."

Top order batsman Shaun Marsh rested on Saturday but was fighting fit after recovering from a back strain suffered in South Africa, Clarke said.

Marsh, who scored an unbeaten 99 in the domestic Twenty20 competition on Monday, would have a session in the nets on Christmas Day, Clarke said.

Former captain Ricky Ponting and middle order batsman Mike Hussey have retained their places, despite struggling for runs, while Ed Cowan is likely to have his test debut at the top of the order in place of the axed Phillip Hughes.

Clarke will lead Australia into the first match of a four-test series, with his counterpart Mahendra Singh Dhoni hoping to guide India to their first test series win on Australian soil.

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Mitchell Starc (12th man).

First Published: Dec 24, 2011 07:40 IST