Hughes Lined Up To Replace Ponting Against Sri Lanka

Hughes Lined Up To Replace Ponting Against Sri Lanka
Hughes Lined Up To Replace Ponting Against Sri Lanka
©REUTERS / Action Images

Phillip Hughes has been handed a recall to Australia's Test squad ahead of the three-match series against Sri Lanka as Ricky Ponting's replacement.

Ponting retired from international cricket following the third and final Test against South Africa in Perth and Hughes has beaten off competition from Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan to fill the vacancy.

Fit-again Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus return at the expense of John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood, who were both hit with injuries following the Perth Test.

Mitchell Johnson retains hi splace in the squad following the Perth Test, in which he and fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc took all 10 wickets to fall in South Africa's second innings.

bet365 make Australia 1/2 favourites to win the opening Test, which gets underway in Hobart on 14th December, with Sri Lanka at 11/2 and the draw at 3/1.

"Phillip is an improved player and his recent and overall career statistics present a compelling case," National Selection Panel (NSP) Chairman John Inverarity said.

"The NSP holds the view that he, having just turned 24, is a very significant part of the future. He has received this call-up, his third, as it was considered to be the right time and circumstances for him to re-establish himself. 

"Michael Clarke will give careful consideration to his batting order during the next few days. He has a number of options open to him and Hughes at three is one of these.

"The four pace bowlers in the squad are Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood, not being able to be declared fit to perform at the time of selection, were not considered. 

"The squad welcomes the return of Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle. Neither bowler was considered to be 100 per cent fit to perform and was not included in the final squad of 12 for the recent Perth Vodafone Test match against South Africa."

Hughes, made his Test debut in 2009, starting off with a duck but then registering consecutive scores of 75, 115 and 160. Dropped after struggling during the 2009 Ashes series, he returned in 2010 with a half-century against New Zealand and his third Test century came against Sri Lanka in 2011.

His last Test was against New Zealand in December 2011 but in the current Sheffield Shield season, he has scored 518 runs at an average of 51.80.

Australia Test squad: Michael Clarke (captain), Shane Watson (vice-captain), Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner

© Cricket World 2012

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