Australia v India, 1st Test, Melbourne December 24, 2011

Hilfenhaus to play, Christian left out

176

Australia have decided against using the allrounder Daniel Christian in the Boxing Day Test, while the left-armer Mitchell Starc has also missed out from the 13-man squad. The captain Michael Clarke announced the starting line-up on Saturday, two days before the game, with Ben Hilfenhaus to play his first Test since the Ashes last summer.

Shaun Marsh was named at No.3 after making an impressive return from his back injury in Thursday night's Big Bash League match, while the opener Ed Cowan will make his debut. Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, the two under-pressure senior members of the middle order, have retained their positions.

The decision to go in with only four frontline bowlers could be viewed as a gamble against a strong batting line-up including Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman. However, Clarke said he would call on his batsmen to provide some overs if required.

"I'm confident we've got the best XI to win this Test match in these conditions," Clarke said. "I can use Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and myself to bowl a few overs. David Warner can bowl a few legspinners. I feel we've got the right XI to give ourselves a chance of winning this Test match.

"DC [Christian] offers a lot with both bat and ball but unfortunately for him right now we can't fit him into the XI."

Hilfenhaus won his recall in part due to his ability to bowl long spells, which without an allrounder will become more important.

"I think it plays a part," Clarke 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's a few reasons we decided to go with Hilfy."

While the bowling gains experience with the return of Hilfenhaus, the batting line-up will also welcome back an important man with Marsh to play his first Test since the Cape Town debacle last month. Clarke said he was confident Marsh was fit to play despite his serious back problems over the past six weeks.

"His back is fine," he said. "He's taken it easy yesterday and today to make sure he's fully recovered and ready to go come Boxing Day. I'd imagine you'll see Shaun out here tomorrow facing some bowlers or at least having some throwdowns. He's 100% ready to go."

Australia 1 David Warner, 2 Ed Cowan, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • satish619chandar on December 25, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    @RandyOZ : How did it count? It is one more selfish innings in cricket where a player scored selfish runs inspite when team was losing.. We all saw how well he was farming the strike the tail..

  • on December 25, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    mayanviljoin nice comments we have some foolish indians supporters of vinay kumar abhimanyu mithun and irfan pathan

  • Beertjie on December 25, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    I feel I must reply to you, Mayan Viljoen. You write "Here in my country you get a couple of South Africans actually supporting the Ausies. Can you believe such a thing??" I am a South African who supports the Aussies. Why? Well I was obliged to sit in a cage at the Newlands cricket ground to watch "my" country play the Kiwis at my first test 50 years ago! Like my hero the late Basil d'Oliveira, I had to go to England to achieve opportunities in sport or academia (my profession). I consider myself a citizen of the world. However I have spent most of my life in the RSA contributing to the development of people with whom I share little but my "nationality"! Of the "the new SA", the less said the better. So, years ago, I pledged loyalty to the country who gave birth to the greatest batsman who has ever lived (Yes, you've guessed it, like the Tendulkar accolytes on this site, my heritage is from the sub-continent). Imho, cricket is transnational, although it's an ersatz religion for me.

  • on December 25, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    chris-p as for england they have been smashed 5 nil in india and india drew in 2002 and won in 2007 in enmgland also won in natwest wat did england did in india humiliation in england scorline is 1-1but in india england not won last 25 years and inone day lolzzzzzzzzz last18 17 won by india lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ho hoho

  • on December 25, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    tast match fan dhoni still have higher average than so called opeaner watson in test 38 more than hadden scored two fifties in eng wat did brad haddin did in ashes and about sachin he scored 2 hundreds in sa year against steyn wat did ponting did lolzz and aussie all out for 47 same newzealand was clean sweep by india in nz 2009 and in india 2010 australia lol loose in own turfaginst them ho hoho

  • RandyOZ on December 25, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    @Pramesh Paudel, Dave Warner is already better than Tendulkar; he scores when it counts!!

  • Alexk400 on December 25, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    As someone said , India has long tail in overseas tour. If sehwag and dravid fails in same inning , india won't even score 200. They are the one give confidence and motivation to all other players. Especially sehwag whack all bowlers it makes easy for every following batsman. Sachin should thank sehwag for his most centuries... without sehwag india is nothing in overseas tours. Actually trick is indian middle order can not face new balls. Even if someone else play sehwag spot , india can score better but they will not have the advantage sehwag gives to the team often. if india even have decent bowling , india would have won more test with sehwag around. Anyway it will be 2-1 or 2-0 for aussies

  • on December 25, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Mayan Viljoen, there are lot of 'wannabe's (Aussie fans) - pseudo/fake Aussie fans in India...they are very much similar to "Glory Hunters" - aka Manu fans :P ;)....They abuse Sachin & Indian players & Ricky Ponting is their GOD...

  • zenboomerang on December 25, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn... Predictions... lol - anything could happen...But without weather delays then 2-1 either way but I'm obviously favoring Australia... Yes, the bowlers fitness will be a key to both teams success... Zaheer & Ishant... For Oz it will be to keeping Pattinson going, with Harris & Watson returning in 2nd or 3rd Test, Cummins maybe play in 4th Test... With back to back Tests this is going to be tough on the bowlers by the 3rd Test...

  • zenboomerang on December 25, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    @dunger.bob :- Yes agree & a tough time for selectors - lets hope they do retire gracefully... @Chris_P :- Its been sad to see so many talented bowlers out at present... @Shaunak Sharma :- Agree & well said... @allblue :- Aussie top 3 are 25, 29, 28 y.o. with lots of cricketing experience... @Nathan30 :- Point well made - without playing he cannot be critised - would have done a better job than Starc against NZ... @Beertjie :- Again, well written - Pontings form has deteriated over the last 4 years & surely it must be time to freshen up the team...

  • satish619chandar on December 25, 2011, 14:46 GMT

    @RandyOZ : How did it count? It is one more selfish innings in cricket where a player scored selfish runs inspite when team was losing.. We all saw how well he was farming the strike the tail..

  • on December 25, 2011, 11:40 GMT

    mayanviljoin nice comments we have some foolish indians supporters of vinay kumar abhimanyu mithun and irfan pathan

  • Beertjie on December 25, 2011, 10:29 GMT

    I feel I must reply to you, Mayan Viljoen. You write "Here in my country you get a couple of South Africans actually supporting the Ausies. Can you believe such a thing??" I am a South African who supports the Aussies. Why? Well I was obliged to sit in a cage at the Newlands cricket ground to watch "my" country play the Kiwis at my first test 50 years ago! Like my hero the late Basil d'Oliveira, I had to go to England to achieve opportunities in sport or academia (my profession). I consider myself a citizen of the world. However I have spent most of my life in the RSA contributing to the development of people with whom I share little but my "nationality"! Of the "the new SA", the less said the better. So, years ago, I pledged loyalty to the country who gave birth to the greatest batsman who has ever lived (Yes, you've guessed it, like the Tendulkar accolytes on this site, my heritage is from the sub-continent). Imho, cricket is transnational, although it's an ersatz religion for me.

  • on December 25, 2011, 9:36 GMT

    chris-p as for england they have been smashed 5 nil in india and india drew in 2002 and won in 2007 in enmgland also won in natwest wat did england did in india humiliation in england scorline is 1-1but in india england not won last 25 years and inone day lolzzzzzzzzz last18 17 won by india lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ho hoho

  • on December 25, 2011, 9:29 GMT

    tast match fan dhoni still have higher average than so called opeaner watson in test 38 more than hadden scored two fifties in eng wat did brad haddin did in ashes and about sachin he scored 2 hundreds in sa year against steyn wat did ponting did lolzz and aussie all out for 47 same newzealand was clean sweep by india in nz 2009 and in india 2010 australia lol loose in own turfaginst them ho hoho

  • RandyOZ on December 25, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    @Pramesh Paudel, Dave Warner is already better than Tendulkar; he scores when it counts!!

  • Alexk400 on December 25, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    As someone said , India has long tail in overseas tour. If sehwag and dravid fails in same inning , india won't even score 200. They are the one give confidence and motivation to all other players. Especially sehwag whack all bowlers it makes easy for every following batsman. Sachin should thank sehwag for his most centuries... without sehwag india is nothing in overseas tours. Actually trick is indian middle order can not face new balls. Even if someone else play sehwag spot , india can score better but they will not have the advantage sehwag gives to the team often. if india even have decent bowling , india would have won more test with sehwag around. Anyway it will be 2-1 or 2-0 for aussies

  • on December 25, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Mayan Viljoen, there are lot of 'wannabe's (Aussie fans) - pseudo/fake Aussie fans in India...they are very much similar to "Glory Hunters" - aka Manu fans :P ;)....They abuse Sachin & Indian players & Ricky Ponting is their GOD...

  • zenboomerang on December 25, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    @Dinker Rkn... Predictions... lol - anything could happen...But without weather delays then 2-1 either way but I'm obviously favoring Australia... Yes, the bowlers fitness will be a key to both teams success... Zaheer & Ishant... For Oz it will be to keeping Pattinson going, with Harris & Watson returning in 2nd or 3rd Test, Cummins maybe play in 4th Test... With back to back Tests this is going to be tough on the bowlers by the 3rd Test...

  • zenboomerang on December 25, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    @dunger.bob :- Yes agree & a tough time for selectors - lets hope they do retire gracefully... @Chris_P :- Its been sad to see so many talented bowlers out at present... @Shaunak Sharma :- Agree & well said... @allblue :- Aussie top 3 are 25, 29, 28 y.o. with lots of cricketing experience... @Nathan30 :- Point well made - without playing he cannot be critised - would have done a better job than Starc against NZ... @Beertjie :- Again, well written - Pontings form has deteriated over the last 4 years & surely it must be time to freshen up the team...

  • hmmmmm... on December 25, 2011, 3:56 GMT

    We will see if this is a good team but there is something to like about the selectors actually picking players that suit the position that they are going to play, not some Hilditch gut feeling - eg. Cowan/Warner vs. Hughes, or Pattinson/Cummins vs Johnson. Once Watson comes back in the next test and hopefully Cummins next year, the lineup starts to look pretty good. The men to make way should be Ponting and Siddle, then Haddin for either Paine or Wade. The hope is that they continue selecting on performance and for the conditions to build a unit of 15 players all capable of playing a winning hand.

    I think India's own 'retirement village' middle order will struggle on fast bouncy pitches and the gap left by their looming departure will highlight a big mistake on the part of india's selectors/coaches. It will be interesting to see how they go about the rebuild????

    Australia 2-1 - draw in Adelaide and India to win in Sydney.

  • on December 24, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    No Jarryd! Ponting and Hussey need to play out the series. You need experienced guys like them in the side to give a good account against the Indians.The best time to drop them is if neither performs in the first three games of the series. Having an entirely Green middle order just makes India's work a little bit easier to take 20 wickets.Before I was thinking a 3-1 or 2-1 in favour of Australia, but now, it's tough to predict. I'm thinking that the outcome of this series will be decided by the quality of the fielding and (fast)bowling of both sides. By the way, I'm a West Indian.

  • Test_Match_Fan on December 24, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    "Strong batting lineup" Byron Coverdale? You must be kidding. If Sehawag and Dravid do not click, Indian tail pretty much starts at number 4. Tendulkar is past his prime and needs to retire. Laxman makes too many mistakes now and Aussies wil not be as forgiving as West Indies. Dhoni is a non cricketer fit only for 20/20 entertainment (remember 20/20 is not cricket). Sorry Byron, you must have forgotten what happened to this batting line up against New Zealand in India and England in summer. Only against a weak West Indies did they produce something, but just about. Matters are going to be worse since Ishant and Zaheer are not fully fit and yet they will be included in final 11. Another English summer fiasco in the making. Remember the fiasco there? Dhoni took off his gloves to bowl medium pace since there was no other fast bowler! What a joke that Harbhajan and Zaheer were chosen in the 11 but could not bowl due to fitness problems. Some corruption in the selection process

  • on December 24, 2011, 20:57 GMT

    Srinivas Ramakrishna . . . Are you actually an Indian?? I can never get this, i.e. people of a specific nationality supporting another country's sportsmen and national teams. I am a South African therefore I support the Proteas first and foremost. RandyOZ is an Ausie, so he will support the Australian Cricket Team. For me this is logic. Here in my country you get a couple of South Africans actually supporting the Ausies. Can you believe such a thing?? Srinivas, why on earth would you want to wish Ponting well before S. Tendulkar, the magnificient Sehwag, R. Dravid, VVS Laxman (what a fantastic player!), V. Kholi, M.S. Dhoni (one of the best cricket captains ever, in all formats of the game), not to mention R. Aswin and Z. Kahn? Why??

  • on December 24, 2011, 18:59 GMT

    no watson? man australia's gonna miss him badly. i think Aus have an edge over Ind, go aussies go!

  • on December 24, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    First-Day-First-Session will decide the fate of India in the first test. If India bat first Sehwag & Gambhir should fire by lunch time. If India bowls, Zak & Ishant have to deliver wickets by lunch time. If either doesn't happen, India will have an uphill task..

  • naveenpnayak on December 24, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    Lyon is nowhere gonna be effective against Indians.. Its really foolish to select him.. They could have picked Bollinger or Mitchel Marsh or Christian instead of him..

  • on December 24, 2011, 16:36 GMT

    M.clarke announched final XI for the boxing day test..

  • flyingwarner on December 24, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    Remember these are the folks that were 21 for 9

  • Santana_Babu on December 24, 2011, 16:03 GMT

    The Final Verdict at the end of the series would be 3-0, ofcourse india will win the series, without Warne, Glen, Haydon, Gilchrist the current team of Australia looks ordinary. To everybody's surprise Umesh and Ashwin are going to shine in this series. That could well go india's way. It was Agarkar and Irfan Pathan who helped india in Australia to win the test matches.. No one expected them to win a match for them. Australia should pray for rain to avoid a white wash this time.

  • g.jeevan05 on December 24, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    Announcing a squad 2 days prior to the match will back fire for Aus.India have enough time to think and catch Aus!!!!!!!!!

  • on December 24, 2011, 15:07 GMT

    TENDULKAR>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>11 AUSSIES

  • on December 24, 2011, 14:27 GMT

    Aussies...will get smacked all over the park in Melbourne....ppl who are writing Sehwag off...beware...d man is comin of fresh with world record of 200+ in ODI...if he crosses 30 on boxing day...he'll kill it on the first day itself...India's bowling is weak on paper...hope it's enuff to steam roll d aussies....

  • on December 24, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    @Ben Yan, how is it the same attack as a year ago?

  • on December 24, 2011, 14:24 GMT

    Average comparison for selected bowlers

    Bowler Career Avge Home Avge Away Avge Muralitharan 22.73 20.15 27.02 Warne 25.42 25.55 25.27 Kumble 29.65 24.9 37.36 McGrath 21.64 21.97 21.23 Harbhajan Singh 32.22 28.36 39.65 Ntini 28.83 24.43 37.71

  • Craggydev on December 24, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    @Chris_P : No. I didn't say this before the England series. English attack is much better than this Aus attack, mind you! And India could never play a fully fit preferred 11. Besides that, the English wickets have more swing than bounce and Aus wickets have less swing and more bounce. Aussies can't swing the ball much. Indian batsmen have always found it easier to play on bouncy tracks as opposed to swinging ones...and When the ball comes onto the bat nicely, Sachin n Sehwag rip the Aus bowling apart! You will see...

  • on December 24, 2011, 14:23 GMT

    Average comparison for selected batsmen

    Batsman Career Avge Home Avge Away Avge Bradman 99.94 98.23 102.85 Tendulkar 56.03 56.38 55.75 Ponting 52.28 56.93 47.48 Lara 52.89 58.65 47.80 Dravid 53.23 51.36 54.72 Richards 50.24 49.78 50.50

  • atuljain1969 on December 24, 2011, 13:53 GMT

    Indian team have this habbit of resurrecting career of failing players and I am sure that Ponting and Hussey would be given ample chance by India to regain their long lost form.

  • Lord_Tendulkar on December 24, 2011, 13:37 GMT

    Golden chance for India to get early wickets....Aussie top 3 are as fragile as they can ever get...that should put pressure on Ricky and Hussey...Clarke is mercurial too offlate...and there is no Lee/ Warnie in the tail to hang around as well...Common India...show how we can bowl !!

  • manisacumen on December 24, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    Good selection by Aussies. The batting looks strong on paper. Warner, Cowan (in form batsmen are always important), Marsh, Ponting, pup and Hussey with Haddin present a tough batting line up. The bowlers are not very good but still good enough for a battle. They have proven in bits and starts if not consistently. Lyon could be a surprise weapon if the pacers click.

    India's bowling is really a concern. Not sure if they will click. They don't encourage optimisim, although individually all are talented and can be match winners in their own right. Somehow they don't give me confidence. But I'll not be surprised if they do well.

    As far as batting is concerned, it sure is a dad's army; but the insult of England will haunt the batsmen and they will be keen to prove that England tour was an aberration. I am pretty confident this time. Even if one or two fail. 4 out of 7 will do well to get big scores.

    But I'm banking on Viru, Gauti, Kohli and Dhoni more than the veterans

  • on December 24, 2011, 13:14 GMT

    Drop ponta and huss and bring in UTK and DC

  • Okakaboka on December 24, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    Mmmm! I think playing Hilfy will upset the applecart. Reason: Pattinson and Siddle have bowled really well in tandem and their close friendship sort of reinforces the 'team' approach or collective onslaught...if you know what I mean. They both looked like taking early wickets which we haven't seen for years. Because Hilfy is crap after the ball stops swinging (3 overs) Clarke will probably open with Hilfenhauss. This will be a mistake. I would have been happier if Christian had played. All this said, at least we now get more overs of swing thanks to spraygun Johnston not being in the team. His inability to hit the seam used to stuff the ball big time (which is way it only gave Hilfenhaus 3 overs). Even Starc at least had the seam in the correct position. Given the MCG wicket, Mackay or Copeland would have been a better option....particularly if Siddle and Pattinson can hit the 150 km/hr with their deliveries.

  • Gizza on December 24, 2011, 12:57 GMT

    Except for Sehwag, I think most Indian batsmen do worse against pure pace and the seaming ball as compared to the swinging ball. Somebody like a more accurate version of Johnson would have been better than Hilfenhaus. At least there's Pattinson.

  • on December 24, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    All INDIAN supporters i guess everyone remember Ishant sharma wear both right hand gloves in sydney test coz of fear of michael clarke bowling. N pitch is full of life not like flat or concrete pitch in india... i think indian doesn't know what is CRICKET...common aussie common...

  • Mary_786 on December 24, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    Agree with NevadaSmith, Khawaja should be in the side ,he is one of the better youngsters going around, its disappointing to see as an aussie supporter that our selectors can't make the hard decisions required regards Ponting and Hussey.

  • on December 24, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    Clarke's got to be kidding! Ponting and Hussey as the back up bowlers?

  • VivGilchrist on December 24, 2011, 12:34 GMT

    @Craggydev, your humor lacks the essential element of comedy. People can say what they want but FORM is the key. Yes, Christian has only got an average of 30, but his form with the bat this season suggests he like Cowan could do the job. The problem with averages is they take into account what a player was doing 6,7,8 years ago. Look at Ponting - averages 52+ overall, but his form for over the last 12 months is rubbish.

  • on December 24, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    India have NEVER won a Test Series in OZ ! They won't do it this time either. Gone are the days of the flat tracks when batsmen had it all their own way. India's old men do not have the speed in their reflexes that they used to have. They will struggle on pitches where the ball is doing something and Oz have the bowlers to make the ball talk. Aussies are tough, proud cricketers and they have a new coach who knows how to win. Watch and weep, Indian friends.

  • Dashgar on December 24, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    So an allrounder is essential? Unless it means dropping Ponting?

  • Dashgar on December 24, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    So an allrounder is essential? Unless it means dropping Ponting?

  • on December 24, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Sehwag is Australia's biggest fear factor whether you like or not. He is the only Indian who has made a triple century and he is the only current cricketer who has done it twice. He is also the only batsman who can repeat SIR DONALD'S record, 300 in a single day. Remember runs on the board win matches.

  • Sehwag_Is_Ordinary on December 24, 2011, 12:02 GMT

    India's bowling is so ordinary unbelievable

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Who Cares about IPL.., EVERYONE CARES FOR IPL in india and infact around the world..weather aussies,lankans,english, windies everyone is dying the participate, Aussies are always zealous abut indians achivements IPL is one of them...Mr. Who cares if sydny test decisions were correct " Aussie media and all aussies discuss point would be " can indian do this again " 2008 was not but 2011 is sure.

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:57 GMT

    I think Ponting should leave gracefully. What is he waiting for when he cannot prove anything or achieve any record. If he does not want to leave with honour, the cricket board should do the honours for him. Australia waits to long to introduce young players into the big arena. I am not surprised to see them facing an uphill task in the West Indies next year. I am a West Indian living in Canada.

  • jonesy2 on December 24, 2011, 11:55 GMT

    sehwag is hilfenhaus' bunny. dismissed him 3 times in 2 matches. rabbit alert

  • ramli on December 24, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Ha..ha..ha... Warner can bowl leg spinners ... Ponting can swing arms ... may be they can get the breaks whenever needed ... pity Clarke ... why don't you simply accept that your batting is fledgling ... and you decided to get more cover!!! may be Aus would be happy to draw the test???

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    chris-p as for england they have been smashed 5 nil in india and india drew in 2002 and won in 2007 in enmgland also won in natwest wat did england did in india humiliation in england scorline is 1-1but in india england not won last 25 years and inone day lolzzzzzzzzz last18 17 won by india lolzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ho hoho

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    good batting line but not good bowling attck i thing for ausi.....so hope there is no one side matches like in england......so we enjoy good cricket in two months.......it is no matter who win but cricket is alwys win....

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    A year on, Australia goes up against the strongest batting lineup in the world with the same attack that got tonked against England. Minus Johnson of course, but if he were available, who knows.

    Long live the revolution.

  • RSBali on December 24, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    I am an Indian supporter but at the same time I am a huge Marsh and Warner fan and want them to do expectionally well because they play for Punjab and Delhi resp the teams I support in IPL.

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:34 GMT

    Im glad the selectors went with hilfy instead of Starc. i dont like Starc and whats the obsession with left armers anyway. Also agree with a comment on here about christian. really his batting isnt good enough to be in the top 6 for australia and his bowling doesnt really strengthen our bowling. i think between hussey and ponting they make up for christian's bowling and then who do you drop for his batting. Good call clarkey. Looking forward to this test series. India's batsman are the key. i think Laxman will do really well, he always does against us. The other opener, not virender the other guy has played well against us. Tendulker will always do well. dravid i think will struggle as well as Virender. Laxman their best, dont see there attack doing much although we are known to collapse every 2nd test match so should be interesting to watch.

  • Mask_Man on December 24, 2011, 11:22 GMT

    well, indian pace attack will show their strength this time , if everybody says indian r gud at home soil but dont forget both teams got the same pitch both teams have equally opportunities, same here in australia , in my choice zahir, ishant, umesh yadav have a great pace, as austraila is struggling swing bowling so might be r ashwin have a upper hand, sachin and laxman always have the great time in australia , in australian side warner always lost his wicket in hurry, hussey, ponting, ed cowan will trouble india none of the selected bowler have the great time with india, from me great wishes to indian team & gud luck.

  • on December 24, 2011, 11:21 GMT

    I think this will be another drawn series for Australia. I call it 2-2. If so, Australia will be the losers in my book, because of Australian home advantage. Go team India!!

  • featurewriter on December 24, 2011, 11:18 GMT

    Tumbarumbar: I agree with you on the Dan Christian selection, but your assessment of Watson seems a little unfair. The guy has been in devastating form with the ball. I think, if he can remain fit and injury free, he can become a 45-average bat and sub-30 ball player; making him a more dangerous bowler than Kallis. While I'm a huge fan of Kallis, the bigger difference between the two is that Jacques is far more selfish; he protects his wicket for personal reasons, not for the team. While Watson plays aggressively, regardless of the circumstances. Either way, they are both once-in-a-generation players. (And they each make Flintoff look like a second-rate all-rounder; and realistically, Flintoff could never have been selected on the merit of either discipline. Watson could, and I'd argue that Kallis may not have been selected only as a bowler; without question, as a batsmen thoug.)

  • SirHahafatman on December 24, 2011, 11:17 GMT

    @Nathan30 finally someone else with good sense! line and length is the mantra not speed and inaccuracy!

  • jonesy2 on December 24, 2011, 11:01 GMT

    yeahhh lets drop everyone and play the coaches instead. everyone from every side should be dropped

  • Beertjie on December 24, 2011, 10:57 GMT

    First time ever 11 wickets taken, rahulcricket007!!! I take your point, @dunger.bob that "young guys will emerge through the system and let Punter and Huss retire gracefully", but we can't wait any longer. Whatever happens, this is their last shot and new guys must tour the WI in March. For one, Watto coming down the order must come back when he's up for the bowling duties. Secondly, Khawaja should return, and Christian, too, should get a shot. But apart from Watto this this not the series for the changes. As for Lyon, when the 6th Indian wicket falls, he'll get his chance to shine. Pattinson will miss not having Harris until Perth but he'll just have to put in the hard yards and at least his playing before his home crowd at the G and that will help Siddle, too. Once the Indian batters get acclimatised it won't be easy, especially if Dhoni calls right at SCG and AO, I expect a tight series. Here's hoping for a fit and functioning Watto and Rhino asap to provide the cutting edge later.

  • butterBum on December 24, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    Australian's have made a big gamble in choosing 3 pacers and a cub LYON!. Its up to Indians now to make merry .Sachin a very gud opportunity to score your 100th ton...GL!

  • Tumbarumbar on December 24, 2011, 10:44 GMT

    Thankfully sanity has prevailed with respect to the selection of Dan Christian as an all rounder. Christian's batting record suggests he is not a good enough batsman to make the team as a batsman nor is he a good enough bowler to make the team as a bowler so he would have weakened the batting without strengthening the bowling. Shane Watson by comparison is now selected as a batsman with the bonus that he can bowl rather than as a true all rounder as was the case in his earlier years. It tends to be no great surprise that when he does well with the ball he fails with the bat, only the Jaques Kallis's of this world seem to be able to switch between both skills seamlessly.

  • on December 24, 2011, 10:38 GMT

    Enough friends..there has been a lot of analysis,discussions,predictions..with barely 72 hours to go before the first ball is to be bowled at MCG my prediction is 1-1 (if Zaheer Khan plays all tests)and 2-0 in favor of Australia if Zak misses 2 or more matches(which seems more likely)...any takers/challengers...and i am from India.pls share your predictions..lets see who hits the bull's eye..:)merry Xmas

  • WhoCaresAboutIPL on December 24, 2011, 10:30 GMT

    Interesting series for all outside observers - both teams have flaws and strengths as you would expect from current nos. 2 and 4 in the rankings, and home advantage more than compensates for the difference. I think the toss, toss decision - (possible insertion with the prevailing early dampness?) and the first day's play will determine the match - last year, remember, the match (and series) was effectively all over by day1. I cannot see Australia being bowled out for <100 again, however,and not by this attack. Equally I feel the Indian batters will flounder apart from Dravid, if there is any pace in the pitch. My overall view is that India will struggle to win more than one match, whereas Oz should win 2. Nathan Lyon is the unknown - I feel he will cannon fodder for India's batsmen, and will fail to make an impact. Hope I am wrong, I do not wish him ill!

  • dicky_boy on December 24, 2011, 10:28 GMT

    WEL ALL COCKY COMMENTS ASIDE Truly great contest with two great multiple world cup winning teams Unlike England who have not won anything except a few ashes lol and nothing in the subcontinent RANDY OZ HOPE U R READY IT'S GOING TO BE FANTABULOUSSSS!!!!!! let the games begin

  • dscoll on December 24, 2011, 10:23 GMT

    Aus should have played 4 quicks and no spinner. Everyone knows India are good against spin , so what is Lyon doing in ther team, apart from giving the Indians a break from the short stuff.

  • Nathan30 on December 24, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    With regards to Copeland being "too slow" for our pitches. I don't remember anyone saying that about Glenn McGrath. Anyway he hasn't played a test yet in Australia so how anyone can say that is beyond me.

  • sriuma on December 24, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    i think Clarke should come in at no.3.also MJ should play in place of Siddle.anyway good luck Clarke & Co.

  • allblue on December 24, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    Those Aussie fans calling for the dropping of Ponting or Hussey need to remember that picking an XI to actually go out there in real life and play is not the same as sitting at your computer picking a Fantasy XI. The top three have precisely five Test match appearances between them, that must be the most inexperienced top order in living memory for Australia. Put Christian at 6 and you'd be left with just two experienced batsmen, and experience counts for a lot in this arena. Same with the bowlers, Pattinson and Lyons are just starting out, you need some old heads in the mix to keep things steady. The newcomers all look to be good prospects, but having seven out of the eleven as novices would be a recipe for disaster. As a neutral I'm really looking forward to this series because it is so hard to call. Let's hope for some great Test cricket and some civil banter on these boards, although I suspect the former is more likely than the latter!

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Hussey and ponting haddin all will get back to form.. because..just because this is indian attack away from home..man cmmon this indian attack will get hammered all over the place by warner...!! Thank god Watty is not there to add the salt to indians ..!!! N I bet I can bat these bollowers in sa, australia, england and nz..!!!And just to compare aussie are back after an awesome series against the sa in sa and against the better bowlind attack of martin bracewell and southee comparing to zaheer ishant and whoever and india struugled against westIndies at india..!!!Common guys this is indian attack dont worry each n every of our player will get back in form, I even bet for Haddin hundred..

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:30 GMT

    Hussey and ponting haddin all will get back to form.. because..just because this is indian attack away from home..man cmmon this indian attack will get hammered all over the place by warner...!! Thank god Watty is not there to add the salt to indians ..!!! N I bet I can bat these bollowers in sa, australia, england and nz..!!!And just to compare aussie are back after an awesome series against the sa in sa and against the better bowlind attack of martin bracewell and southee comparing to zaheer ishant and whoever and india struugled against westIndies at india..!!!Common guys this is indian attack dont worry each n every of our player will get back in form, I even bet for Haddin hundred..

  • Alexk400 on December 24, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    Best line up possible. I think game will be decided by Indian bowlers vs aussie batsman. I see aussie winning the battle.. i think aussie may win the first Test,

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:24 GMT

    @Sunny1307. The kind of precise prediction you make, you should change your name from "Sunny" to "Moony", to be more precise, as you seems to prefer, to ... "Looney"!

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    Although all focus is on Zak & Ishant .....i think the Aussies are in for a "SURPRISE PACKAGE" in Ashwin.He is extremely high-on-confidence and raring to go.....You also saw them struggling against him in the WC...!......And when it comes to the star studded INDIAN BATTING,I think,even if Australian bowling is much better than India's.....i rally doubt if they could take 20 Indian wickets...which includes Gambhir,Sehwag,Sachin,Dravid,VVS.......each "2 TIMES"! ALL THE BEST-TEAM INDIA......

  • stormy16 on December 24, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    I see getting 20 Indian wickets with that attack as the main problem assuming the batters get some runs and that's almost not a reasonable assumption. I would have played Dan who could get something out of the MCG wicket and add to the batting. The problem is who do you drop. May be open with Marsh and fit Dan before Haddin. This would maintain the batting strenght while adding a bowler to combat a strong Indian batting line up.

  • moBlue on December 24, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    so... it is just siddle and pattinson that IND have to worry about. the others are all space-filler also-rans, especially for sehwag, dravid, sachin and laxman who were all batters who narrowly missed crushing a then-world champion team at sydney in the last test in 2003, thanks to steve bucknor. no doubt all 4 of them remember. that bowling line-up consisted of lee, gillespie, bracken and macgill - yet IND piled on 700-plus at sydney, and before that pinnacle, IND scored not-bad scores of 366 and 286 at melbourne, 523 and 233 at adelaide, and 409 at brisbane. relatively speaking, this AUS bowling attack is hardly scary! all 4 of those batters are currently in fine nick. since 11/11, dravid, laxman, dhoni and ashwin have scored test centuries, sachin 76 and 94 in tests, and sehwag a world record ODI score on 12/8. the other batters are gambhir with 9 test hundreds and a test average of 47 and kohli who scored a century in the tour match. not a bad bunch! AUS are in trouble, not IND!!!

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    some one wrote that Australia's bowling attack is better balanced. I seriously doubt it though both Australia and India have same kind of balance in bowling I don't see any any extra edge that either side have over each other in bowling, in fact India with ashwin is slightly ahead,Also I don't think that Australian batting is that poor as portrayed by everybody . For me their batting line up is as strong as any other team, though we should nor compare it to indian batting line up .

  • johnathonjosephs on December 24, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    Batting lineup looks as good as it can get (barring that Watson is injured), but bowling is a worry. Siddle is not the ideal fast bowler (but then again, who is not injured and is better than him) and Lyon is a good spinner, but the Indians usually thrash spin. A very young team this is looking to be, and they'll be up against the seniors of Dravid, Sehwag, Tendulkar, Laxman, and Zaheer. Up to Ponting and Clarke

  • RameshSubramaniam on December 24, 2011, 9:08 GMT

    I am big Aussie fan but I think Australia already started defensive blaming injury concerns. Who are in the injury list? Batsmen - Watson (only), Bowler - (Cummins - One series wonder) and Harris (I am not sure he ever play one whole series worse than Zak). If they tour outside, they will have the current team more or less because it is very tough to manage injury-less in the ideal world. Only current Eng Team is fortunate to enjoy the ideal world.If Shewag started with 3 boundaries in a over, is Pattison is strong enough to be cool and bowl next over? In that case, do they have one bowler who can raise the hand for situation? Warner can do the same to India and they are also having same issue without Zaheer. If India batsmen started dominating Lyon like they did for other Aussie spinners in the past, then it start look like 3 man attack (It would be the same in case of Mithun/Vinay for India).

  • vivek1997 on December 24, 2011, 9:07 GMT

    i think hilfenhaus is good selection of course better than starc he dismissed sehwag quite a few times in the 2010 series and has a decent bouncer and away swinger to go with ithe would be quite a handful there but still..........

  • on December 24, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    Worst test team selection where is watson, ab macdonald, david hussey, copeland, ben cutting etc

  • on December 24, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    Good Luck for Aussies and cowan/warner

  • ziggywalrus on December 24, 2011, 8:57 GMT

    We should bring back Marcus North too.

  • ibtihaj10 on December 24, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    watson where is he? when he will recover from his injury will play in next test after the boxing day one

  • veerakannadiga on December 24, 2011, 8:46 GMT

    Now that the playing XI for the Boxing day test is announced, there is no point cribbing that X should be playing in place of Y etc.,. Its time to move on & enjoy the game. On paper, India look a solid batting side and Australia the better bowling side, not to undermine Australia's batting, which is also good. Can't say the same for Indian bowlers.

  • on December 24, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @Chris_P yeah and you can rant this english series for the next 16 years.. thats when they will be able to beat us again xD

  • AUSOME_AWESIE on December 24, 2011, 8:42 GMT

    @Brendon Corlett a clean sweep like how the English whipped the Indians is it mate???!!! 4-0 Tests 3-0 ODIs 1-0 T20, and if i remember the Indians lost even to a county side in a tour match...

  • rahulcricket007 on December 24, 2011, 8:29 GMT

    @dinker rkn . then aus score card will be : warner c sehwag b zaheer 2 , cowan b zaheer 11 , marsh lbw zaheer 0 , ponting c dravid b ishant 1 , clarke c dhoni b yadav 8 , hussey lbw zaheer 2 , haddin b yadav 0 , siddle lbw ashwin 4 , pattinson b yadav 1, lyon lbw ashwin 12 , hilfenaus c dhoni b ishant 3 , extras 3 total 47 all out .loooool.

  • on December 24, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    No MJ..? where is watson...?

  • on December 24, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    johnson or starc need to be there in the line up..

  • Chris_P on December 24, 2011, 8:26 GMT

    @dunger.bob. Have to agree with you. Copeland just quite doesn't cut it on our wickets as well as a number of other bowling options, but he is much better suited to the lower wickets and perhaps English wickets. He does bowl tight, but just that touch too slow from what I have seen of him in shield games. When fit, Harris Cummins & Pattinson are the best 3 for pace. The bowling is ok, but Punter & Huss worry me. At their age, they have to perform, there are no other options for them.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 24, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    india needs zaheer to fire on mcg . atleast zaheer should take care of all left handers , there are four lefties in this aus squad .

  • Chris_P on December 24, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    @Craggydev. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn;' you say the same thing before the English series?

  • on December 24, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    india will clean sweep aussie

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:55 GMT

    I think the team is well balanced. Don't write Hussey and Ponting off, In my view they have this knack of scoring big against India! I think Siddle, Pattinson and Hilfenhaus make a good combination with Lyon as support, they are fast enough to trouble us. Hoping the Indian batsmen would come good against this relatively new Aussie attack. Waiting for the Boxing Day.

  • Craggydev on December 24, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    This bowling attack will struggle to get 20 Indians out... Lyon = "Come score free runs", Pattinson = "Save me from Sehwag Mommy.. :(", Siddle = "these batsmen are impossible to get no matter how many overs I throw in :(" Hilfy = "Err...wat? I m bowling my quota mate! Am I supposed to take wickets?" :P

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:42 GMT

    It will be India's inexperienced attack versus Aussies inexperienced openers. If Zaheer is fully fit, then we have a match. A couple of quick wickets you have a struggling Ponting exposed early and suddenly you see little depth. Interesting scenario and keeping fingers crossed.

  • ravi_hari on December 24, 2011, 7:39 GMT

    Sensible decision to leave out Christian. Known enemy is better than unknown friend. Ben has served well for Aussies and it is better to have him and an extra batsman than go for Christian who has not been exposed at international level as yet. Test is not the right place to try utility players. Christian is not the calibre of Watson or Symonds. He did fail for DC inspite of being bought at the highest price in IPL. Ben has a very good away swinger which can trouble all the Indians and his ability to bowl long spells like Siddle, will help Clarke manage workloads of young Pattinson and Lyon. The batting also looks in control with the inform top 3 and struggling bottom 3 with Haddin left to use the long handle when required. Johnson will be missed by Aussies as much as Bhajji will be missed by India at No. 8. Aussies now look more certain than they were against SA or Kiwis. Atleast the line-ups are in order and they can concentrate on the game now. It is going to be a fascinating test.

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:26 GMT

    A minor surprise with Cowan ahead of Christian but presumably this is to have a regular opener, rather than opening with Marsh and shuffling the line up. Christian is very unlucky to miss out though but at least now he will get to play some cricket in the interim. Very happy to see Starc out. Confused why Copeland isn't being considered.

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:22 GMT

    Ind Score Card 1st Innings MCG

    Sehwag C Ponting B Pattinson 7 Gambhir LBW Pattinson 2 Dravid* 100 Sachin LBW Siddle 10 Laxman C Hussey (Boundary) B Siddle 12 Kohli C Clarke Bowled Pattinson 0 Dhoni LBW Hilfy 2 Ojha Bowled Pattinson 15 Ishant C Clarke B Siddle 20 Zaheer LBW pattinson 10 Yadav RunOut Warner 0

    Extras 12

    Total All Out for 190 in 57.5 Overs

  • dunger.bob on December 24, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    @ zenboomerang. Copeland either king hit Micky (either Micky, same result) or he is seen as just 10 kph too slow. It's the traditional Aussie mistrust of medium pacers. Can't see any other explanation. Unless there is some hidden injury I suppose.

    Realistically, this is close to the best team we can field at the moment. We could tinker with a few spots here and there and maybe get an extra 2%, but given the injuries, and most alarmingly the lack of obvious replacements, this, I'm afraid boys and girls, is all that is between us and more humiliation.

    I'm not exactly all warm and fuzzy about our bowling, but at the moment its so much better than the batting that it becomes our greatest hope and the rope I think the team will cling to.

    The batting is dire, there's no doubt about it. Nothing we can do though other than keep the faith that some young guys will emerge through the system and let Punter and Huss retire gracefully. India 2-1. Australia to progress despite loosing.

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Dan Christian would provide the side with better balance. Shane Watson, as the 4th seamer gave excellent balance to the side. Against a strong batting lineup, the 4th seamer is a necessity. We only just did enough to draw the series against NZ without Watson bowling. India are stronger in the batting department than NZ. That means a batsman must go! Dan Christian has been one of the best batsman in state cricket this year. He should not let us down in that capacity. Ponting is the one I would omit. He's had enough chance to justify his omission.

  • on December 24, 2011, 7:07 GMT

    @sunny1307. what a prediction?!! I wonder y'd n't Aus ask India to follow on after the huge 1st inngs lead. can u come back to this page & give ur opinion after the match ends?

  • naga25french on December 24, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Best possible combination .. good team indeed .. I think Siddle is the man for the Oz .. If he fires , they are bound to do well .

  • ultimatewarrior on December 24, 2011, 6:56 GMT

    Australia will definitely will go for batting pitches so that his struggling middle order(ponting,clarke & hussey) not only regain its form but more importantly can increase their test lives......so i m looking for very batsman dominated series as India is also lacking full strength in bowling......further Indian batting domination on batting pitches is well known to everybody against any attack......

  • Bathinda11 on December 24, 2011, 6:42 GMT

    Clarke got this time wrong..long spells dont win matches...good spells do..Hilfy is not a match-winning material..he is gentlle pace which the players like gambhir, dravid,laxman and sachin can negate easily...they should have gone with some who is pace or hits deck...leaving usman khwaja is right choice..shaun is better prospect and he can shift gears...idealy the 11 should be ...warner,cowan,ponting,marsh,clarke,hussey,haddin,pattinson,lyon/starc,siddle,copeland

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    what about Ricky ponting...he plays all of his carere in no 3 ...n u just put such ledend in no 4 such a yuck...he is in his last of his carere why can't u give him his own home...in the last phase...if anyone guys can fit for no 3 is clarke its self coz no other are xpirence in that place...yuck

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    this team can beat average teamfrom subcontinents like lanka and pak not india 2 time won in durban drew in sa australia won in pert won in england 2007 drew in 2002 beware team is fit also not like england and mind you india isnot lanka pak or newzealand

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    jonesy starc travelled in india for one day series and was smashed india chased 280

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Excellent Oz team. India has a tough job in hand. Favorable "Turning Point" for India will be its openers. In bowling -- Zak & Ishant/ Yadav. In Batting -- Sehwag & Gambir. Whoever wins the toss, either of these two pairs have to click. Otherwise, India is in trouble.

  • azzaman333 on December 24, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Best possible lineup from the 13 man squad. Bowling lineup could be a success if Hilfy and Sidds get it full, or a repeat of the Ashes if they bowl short of a length. Middle order is still the biggest concern, with Ponting in abysmal form, and Haddin being Haddin.

  • pj3000 on December 24, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    The Aus bowling will look so much better when Harris and Cummins come back into the side: Harris, Cummins, Pattinson & Lyon. Those four look the goods. Hilf is yesterday's man, I'm afraid. Siddle is honest enough, and actually looked the best I've seen him in the NZ Tests...but Harris is a cut above.

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:19 GMT

    @sunny1307 wow, thats the most pathetic prediction ever ... good luck supporting a team that struggles to hold on to half the side under 50 runs in the recent past, and ur expecting them to go 322/2 ... hahaha ... THE INDIANS WILL BEAT THE AUSSIES IN THE SERIES 3-0

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 24, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    I think if Indians bowl well, Australia's fragile batting line-up canbe out twice for not many.....

    On contrary, perhaps world's greatest ever batting line up will look to bully australia's rookie fast bowlers and you may never know if hilfy breaks down again?

    So, all in all very good line-up for us to beat........

  • sameer997 on December 24, 2011, 6:15 GMT

    i dont see lyon and pattinson causing any sort of alarms for the indian batsmen which leaves siddle and hiffy to take 10 wickets...

  • on December 24, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    OMG sunny1307... never seen somebody comment like this...what's the basis? lets see!

  • bipulkumar on December 24, 2011, 6:02 GMT

    Where are the Indian fans !!! ... Australian fans have simply outnumbered Indian comments. Haven't seen this ever. And what's more, both are blasting their own bowling department. This will be a funny and even contest with batsmen making most of it. Pattinson looks an odd man out who can spoil the party.

  • arun105Citt on December 24, 2011, 6:00 GMT

    @Sunny1307: come out of dreams.... Australia are not playing with minnows... this indian team has learnt a lot from England tour... expect a tough fight. Looking fwd for a wonderful boxing day match

  • KingofRedLions on December 24, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Excellent. We get to see more of Mike Hussey, star all-rounder.

  • RodStark on December 24, 2011, 5:55 GMT

    Has anyone already wondered when Australia last had a batting order where the first three had a total of (what?) three tests' experience between them?

  • BeyondPerception on December 24, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Not a bad team to be fair. It's a little disappointing not to see DC in the line-up, but I reckon Cowen has the capabilities. As for the series, it'll be close, but I think India might win 2-1. This coming from an Australian supporter.

  • on December 24, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    Aus should have played 5 bowlers.either Starc/Copeland(what happened to him after the impressive run in SL)should have played.I repeat Punter,Hussey and even Haddin will make tons of runs against Indian bowlers.Their bowling is every opposition batsman's dream (just wait and watch).Aus need to attack from all fronts and find out the best combo.Obviously Hilfy is given a last chance because if he gets going he is a genuine swing bowler(need for England 2k13).Siddle had to be there because with no Harris/Bollinger or even MJ Aus just cant have a few rookies bowling at once(remember last Ashes).Lyon should have been picked only for Sydney and Adelaide.Pattinson could be the x factor and man of the series because Indian batsmen could crumble against the sheer weight of runs posted against them.By the way I am from India and only thing i am looking forward to is classic performance from a few of our batsmen and absence of a 5th bowler raises my spirits..whatever happened to Aus aggression

  • johntycodes on December 24, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    It hurts australia so much when hussey and ponting bowl. Australia would have won the last test against new zealand if hussey and ponting didn't bowl a combined 5 or so overs because new zealand managed to get about 20 runs off them and that's the ball game right there.

  • on December 24, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    The best XI Australia Selectors chosen for the Boxing day Test against India. Will be tough for India to take 20 Wickets. It is packed batting line up for both teams. Indian bowlers will have a tough time. What a line up this is 1 David Warner, 2 Ed Cowan, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Ricky Ponting, 5 Michael Clarke (capt), 6 Michael Hussey, 7 Brad Haddin (wk), 8 Peter Siddle, 9 James Pattinson, 10 Nathan Lyon, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus. 7 batsmen, 3 bowlers and 1 spinner, will be a decent team. India have to be careful.

  • on December 24, 2011, 5:33 GMT

    This will be the easiest of Australian attacks India need to face on the Australian soil. Australia will be slaughtered....

  • Percy_Fender on December 24, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    It is disappointing to see Usman Khwaja being dropped. In my view, he seems the best young Australian batsman around after Shaun Marsh, whose fitness will remain a concern. Back problems keep coming back and it could even happen when one is playing a match. I have a feeling that Usman does'nt met the All Australian personality to be retained.

  • zenboomerang on December 24, 2011, 5:27 GMT

    As expected from the selectors... Hilfenhaus there just to bowl the extra overs - Whats Copeland done wrong?... Still if the senior card holders fail again with the bat then the selectors will look dumb... If India's batting fires then Clarke will also take a hammering - his fill in bowlers look weak & may cause more injuries - Clarkes back, Husseys hamstring, Warner lower back... With back to back Tests, this will test the endurance of the new bowlers Pattinson & Lyon...

  • sunny1307 on December 24, 2011, 5:16 GMT

    Great team....I was expecting the same XI.I see this team getting score above 400 in each and every inning.Cowan will be the man of the series.Remember my words.Ponting will come out to bat in the 1st inns at mcg when the scorecard will read Aus 322/2.1st test mcg-1st inns Aus 545/7 dec Ind 278 Aus 215/3 dec Ind 269.

  • Wefinishthis on December 24, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Back to Siddle and Hilfenhaus again? Fantastic. We all know how well that worked. Those two bowlers have really proven that they're world class like Steyn, Philander, Harris, Tremlet, Bresnan, Broad, Finn... oh wait. Smart money has to be on a draw now that we finally have a capable top 3 and a rubbish bowling lineup. Good work from the selectors to be picking the two of the three worst bowlers in the country (the other being Johnson) so that we get 5 days play and get to see Tendulkar make his 100th 100. Pattinson and perhaps Lyon are our probably bad selections because they might actually be able to bowl the other team out, but we'll see. Should be a good test for Pattinson.

  • avmd on December 24, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    I'm not from Idia or Australia, even then can't wait the test to start, imagine how anxiously Indian and Australian supporters woud be waiting for this, potentially a great test series to begin. A lot to see, some of the great cricketers, and one the best ever, will be in action for the last time in Australia.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:56 GMT

    OMG! Suddenly the Aussies line up look so strong. Hope Indians put up good show. very much worried about the Indianz bowling dept.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    Exellent team for the match. Only weak line is Siddle.....May be DC could hav got a chance instead of Cowan......anyway.... hoping for a gr8 contest! :-)

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:52 GMT

    No Usman Kuwaja?! That is disappointing. The bowling attack looks capable. They may not stop Sachin's 100th hundred, but they could bowl out india.

  • AidanFX on December 24, 2011, 4:43 GMT

    Good - a specialist batsman is required in the current line up - Whilst I had similar reservations about Marsh to that of Hyclass - reality he has been one of the better performing Aus batsman - (Clarke has been decent; Hussey was good in SL). The squad needs to be strengthened with a class batsman rather than the all-round batsman (yes I know Dan's form has been good this yr, but I am not convinced he strengthens the line up). The only reservation with Marsh is how given he is to injury; but it is encouraging he was undismissed nigh 100 in the recent BBL game coming off injury. And either the quicks and Lyon are good enough to Bowl India out or not at all I reckon Dan would have been handy but certainly not decisive. Hiff is a good inclusion; although I don't necessarily think he fits in the team when Harris, Johnson, Cummings, Cutting, Watson become available again.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    ausies will go down from down under to deep under

  • aussiecricketlover on December 24, 2011, 4:41 GMT

    whens watto gonna be back, we need him badly atm

  • lolrocket on December 24, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    Best possible team I think considering the injuries. Quite impressed with the new selection panel.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    i wish best of luck for ricky ponting, go ricky make 600 in 4 game !

  • landl47 on December 24, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Well, at least Aus has picked the best eleven from what it's got. Unfortunately, it doesn't have that much. Still, India's isn't exactly a devastating bowling attack, either, and their Dad's Army middle order will be trotted out again in the hopes they will have a last hour of glory. Hard to know who will win- or even who will manage to stay on the field for 5 days.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    My choice for the Indian XI: Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, VVS, Virat, MSD, Ashwin, Zaheer, Ishant, Yadav.

  • jonesy2 on December 24, 2011, 4:21 GMT

    always going to be the case. starc unlucky, he would trouble the indians to no end given the sufficient amount of overs

  • sankar8000 on December 24, 2011, 4:19 GMT

    It seems Aussie and India both are having 3 seamers and one spinner options...

    No one has 5 bowlers theory...

  • AussieGreekCricketLegend on December 24, 2011, 4:18 GMT

    If we have traditional Aussie bounce, then it will be 4-0 Australia.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:09 GMT

    2011 is the worst year for Ausies in terms of Cricket, but it will be ending in days from now.....This is the perfect playing eleven, Some thing great done by selectors....Ausies will dominate the world cricket again & Punter....All the best..

  • ajayrcs on December 24, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Pretty good team but have serious doubt on Hilfenhaus and Siddle will they able to take 20 wickets. Everyone talking about Batsmen not performing but what about bowlers.

  • on December 24, 2011, 4:06 GMT

    Imagine- David Warner- the safest bet in an Aussie TEST Lineup :) - how the tables have turned! Rookie Cowan- Badback Marsh- Sticky(feet) Ricky- Cap(S)tain Clarke- No Run Hussey- Mad Brad Haddin- Allrounder Siddle......if not now..then when India!?

  • getaclue on December 24, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    Prob the best 11 available from that 13 man squad. Bring on Boxing Day. Hilfy is having a good year with the ball so good to see players can get the chance to come back if they show some decent form

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    If we can win against Australian team consisting of Mcgrath, Warne, Lee, hayden, and Waugh, we should be able to win if we play to our potenial.. All the best to the Indian team.... They can win this match

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:51 GMT

    Good Team composition! I like the thought process of taking Hilfy in... the ability to bowl longer spells. This also indicates that the pitch is going to be batter friendly as well. Does our team management take all this into equation? Dunno which medium pace bowler can bowl long spells at a stretch... i.e like 12-14 overs at a stretch? Zak, Ishant or yadav? well... phew!

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:49 GMT

    Aussie first time coming with 4 bowler-7 bastman combination.. on Boxing Day test match at Melbourne..

  • soorajiyer on December 24, 2011, 3:48 GMT

    Really!! Its not too bad a decision I would say. It could be a master class act from Clarke or it could make him look really silly.. But generally when you take a calculated risk, it generally pays you back. Sincerely hope it doesnt for Clarke though :)

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:39 GMT

    Sehwag will have good outing against Pattinson and Hilfy :-)

  • bouncer3459 on December 24, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    This Bowling Line up will be slaughtered by India- Stupid Selection, playing a spinner against India. This will be Lyon's last test match.

    Salman

  • RandyOZ on December 24, 2011, 3:32 GMT

    Absolutely mad and backwards move by the selectors. Arthur is failing to impress once again. Hilfenhaus will be carted mark my words.

  • Naren on December 24, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    Pattinson, Hilfy, Cummins, Watson, Lyon would be a good attack. Waiting for the next test to see that combination.

  • Prasant_NSW on December 24, 2011, 3:29 GMT

    Hard decision against Christian.. Best out of form team ever. lol - Prasant UNSW

  • bigfrank on December 24, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Only 4 frontline bowlers - either they've prepared a greentop or already Australia are looking not to lose rather than looking for the win.

  • Naren on December 24, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    Not having Starc in the team is going to affect Lyon. He needs him to create the rough outside the batsman's off stump. Zaheer + Ashwin is going to do that. Australia could have picked somebody like Doherty maybe. But Hify and Pattinson are going to be a handful. Not sure of Siddle and Lyon.

  • JustOUT on December 24, 2011, 3:25 GMT

    The top order might not be as strong as India's, but all depends on SAchin. If he scores 100, then india might lose, If Sehwag/Laxman scores 100, India might win.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 24, 2011, 3:24 GMT

    Hmmm... this is interesting from Clarke; announcing the starting XI 2 days before the game. What's Pup up to ? not a bad team at all. My favorite Aussie player Warner is up at the top along with a decent batter in Cowan. Then we have Shaun Marsh, another lovable guy followed by the experienced middle order. However I don't understand Hilfenhaus's inclusion. He's predominantly a swing bowler. The MCG traditionally never swings much. So what kind of a selection is this ? Even the Indian bowlers won't get much help in terms of swing I feel. They should have played Starc who is quick. Over all a decent team first up on Boxing Day.

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:23 GMT

    bring it on india... Leme see what u got!

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Dan Christian has a promising career as a Brett Lee/ Michael Kasprowicz and may be named 12th man for many matches to come.

  • Prasant_NSW on December 24, 2011, 3:18 GMT

    Easy Easy match for India. Go rip em off their home grounds, retain the trophy. - Prasant UNSW

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:15 GMT

    A much better team than the one I have seen in the previous months. Warner is a great new addition and I'm glad to see no khawaja or hughes. They need to go back to state cricket and get some more experience. Khawaja looked awkward from day one. I believe it is not only Ponting who is under pressure in that middle order. Haddin has not done a lot recently, and Hussey has struggled after they phenomenal start to the Ashes he had last year. Actually him and Haddin offered the only resistance back then :D

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:08 GMT

    I would have picked Christian ahead of hilfy Aussie batting also under frequent collapse.. If hilfy fails to pich wickets ..then he shouldn't be selected for sydney

  • farkin on December 24, 2011, 3:04 GMT

    i would bat ponting at #6 hussey at #5 and clarke at #4 if i had them 3 in my side

  • on December 24, 2011, 3:01 GMT

    Decent team but has Marsh played a sheild game since his return? If not he shouldve had to to prove his fitness.

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:52 GMT

    Superb here comes he Boxing day line up...Come on Aussies we are waiting for an exciting cricket...If possible you can use warner in Pos 6 and play ponting opening...Anyways all the best to both teams and Merry CHristmas

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:49 GMT

    It's time for Ricky Ponting to get to his form, otherwise he can pack his bags.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 24, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    See off Siddle and Pattinson, it should be an easy assignment from then on. Feel sorry for Lyon though. Warne and MacGill couldn't do nothing. What can Lyon probably do? Good luck to both the teams. Can't wait....

  • TopC on December 24, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Looks like a reasonably solid Australian team. Good Luck! Give The Indians a good hiding. :)

  • samgannon22 on December 24, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Unbelievable. Hilfenhaus! If Johnson was fit they would probably drop Pattinson and pick him too! We are going backwards! Still with the same mediocre nucleus that got rolled for under 100 last Boxing Day! One of the most embarrassing days in Australian sporting history. A year on and the selectors have learnt nothing, obviously. Poor old Kawahja was batting beautifully in the first test until Ponting ran him out, now because Ponting can't get runs himself Kawajha gets dropped to 20/20. How many chances do these blokes get? Would it happen in any other sport? No way.

  • satish619chandar on December 24, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    Hmmm.. Christian is not a player whoepends on the track.. If Australia need to be on safer side, prepare grassbowls without worrying about the batting form..

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    well a good team selected from d 13......................it could hav been good for india....if daniel played.........becoz we can handle his bowling very well..................nd ther batting could hav becom more worse than present...........so lets see what happens on d boxing day..............confident about indian team...................... .

  • arun1094 on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    With 4 lefties in the top 6, I'm pretty sure it will be Ashwin playing ahead of Ojha..!

  • Dismayed on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Ponting must go. Ponting must retire for the sake of Australian cricket. Christian or anyone of the numerous in form allrounders or even an in form batsmen must come into this team.

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    good that dany is not there.... mighty allround option left out.........

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    cant believe they went with Hilfy. what about bolinger ? surely he would be next down from harris, cummins

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    SO one more game and Marsh will be injured again. Should of just played Christian. At least he call bowl, Drop Hussey and Drop Ponting if they do not fire this test. Sick of dads army getting 10 chances. Lehmann, one of the best ever domestic players would get dropped after one failure. DO we want to see ponting and huss end up with averages in the 40s? This has been a sad 3 year descent with the odd glimpse of form.

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  • on December 24, 2011, 2:32 GMT

    SO one more game and Marsh will be injured again. Should of just played Christian. At least he call bowl, Drop Hussey and Drop Ponting if they do not fire this test. Sick of dads army getting 10 chances. Lehmann, one of the best ever domestic players would get dropped after one failure. DO we want to see ponting and huss end up with averages in the 40s? This has been a sad 3 year descent with the odd glimpse of form.

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    cant believe they went with Hilfy. what about bolinger ? surely he would be next down from harris, cummins

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:36 GMT

    good that dany is not there.... mighty allround option left out.........

  • Dismayed on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Ponting must go. Ponting must retire for the sake of Australian cricket. Christian or anyone of the numerous in form allrounders or even an in form batsmen must come into this team.

  • arun1094 on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    With 4 lefties in the top 6, I'm pretty sure it will be Ashwin playing ahead of Ojha..!

  • on December 24, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    well a good team selected from d 13......................it could hav been good for india....if daniel played.........becoz we can handle his bowling very well..................nd ther batting could hav becom more worse than present...........so lets see what happens on d boxing day..............confident about indian team...................... .

  • satish619chandar on December 24, 2011, 2:43 GMT

    Hmmm.. Christian is not a player whoepends on the track.. If Australia need to be on safer side, prepare grassbowls without worrying about the batting form..

  • samgannon22 on December 24, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Unbelievable. Hilfenhaus! If Johnson was fit they would probably drop Pattinson and pick him too! We are going backwards! Still with the same mediocre nucleus that got rolled for under 100 last Boxing Day! One of the most embarrassing days in Australian sporting history. A year on and the selectors have learnt nothing, obviously. Poor old Kawahja was batting beautifully in the first test until Ponting ran him out, now because Ponting can't get runs himself Kawajha gets dropped to 20/20. How many chances do these blokes get? Would it happen in any other sport? No way.

  • TopC on December 24, 2011, 2:46 GMT

    Looks like a reasonably solid Australian team. Good Luck! Give The Indians a good hiding. :)

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 24, 2011, 2:47 GMT

    See off Siddle and Pattinson, it should be an easy assignment from then on. Feel sorry for Lyon though. Warne and MacGill couldn't do nothing. What can Lyon probably do? Good luck to both the teams. Can't wait....