Australia have named their starting eleven for the first Test against India which begins on Boxing Day. The headline news is that Shaun Marsh has been declared fit from his back injury following his unbeaten 99 for Perth Scorchers in Thursday Big Bash game, and that Ben Hilfenhaus has been preferred to Mitchell Starc. Dan Christian has also been left out from the 13-man squad that was named on Wednesday.
Commenting on the omission of Christian, who it had been thought might play in order to give Australia an extra bowling option against the strong Indian batting line-up, Australia captain Michael Clarke said, “I'm confident we've got the best eleven to win this Test match in these conditions. I can use Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and myself to bowl a few overs, [while] David Warner can bowl a few legspinners. DC [Dan Christian] offers a lot with both bat and ball but unfortunately for him right now we can't fit him into the eleven."
Of the selection of Hilfenhaus ahead of Starc, who had played in Australia’s last Test, Clarke explained that the decision had a lot to do with the former’s ability to bowl long spells, which would be important without a fifth bowler.
He said, "His control, he's a very good new ball bowler. He can bowl long spells. He's had success against India as well. There are a few reasons we decided to go with Hilfy."
Coach Mickey Arthur added of the players who didn’t quite make the final eleven, along with those recovering from injury: “Ryan Harris and Dan Christian will stay around the group until their BBL commitments later in the week, and Shane Watson will also be with the group in Melbourne in order to build workloads and hopefully be fit for consideration for selection for upcoming Test matches.”
Australia: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.
© Cricket World 2011