Pattinson, Shaun Marsh in Adelaide squad
James Pattinson has been anointed as the man to step into Mitchell Johnson's shoes for the day-night Test in Adelaide, while Usman Khawaja's injured hamstring has meant another recall for Shaun Marsh.
The national selectors have named a squad of 13 for the relative unknown of the inaugural floodlit Test, to be played with the experimental pink Kookaburra ball. New South Wales left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe was also included as a potential tandem option opposite Nathan Lyon. This is the case even though the Adelaide surface is expected to be well grassed in an attempt to keep the ball from losing its pink coating.
Having not played a Test match since he suffered back trouble after the 2014 Cape Town Test, which had in turn been his first appearance since he tore his side during the Lord's Test of the 2013 Ashes series, Pattinson is sporting a remodeled action and wizened features. At 25, he may finally be ready to follow through on the infinite promise he showed in the first part of the 2011-12 summer Tests.
"James has made a good return to Shield cricket following his injury and has earned this recall," Rod Marsh, the chairman of selectors, said. "He has worked incredibly hard and we are confident that he is ready to perform at Test level if selected."
Australia's coach Darren Lehmann argued via the media with his Victoria counterpart David Saker earlier in the season, as the latter felt Pattinson needed a lot more bowling to groove his action before he could be considered for the Test side. Since then, Pattinson has played two Shield matches but also been rested from another, suggesting he was always in line for selection in the event of injuries or retirements.
Marsh, meanwhile, returns to the side for the first time since the fateful Trent Bridge Test of this year's Ashes series, having scored consistently if not prolifically for Western Australia in the interim. Marsh was always likely to be next in line for Khawaja, and none of his competitors have been able to do anything outstanding to usurp him.
"Shaun was unlucky to miss out on the squad for the first two Tests and since then has scored consistently in the Sheffield Shield," Marsh said, "so we believe he deserves this opportunity."
As for the selection of O'Keefe, Marsh said this was largely to do with uncertainty about the Adelaide surface. "We have opted to include an extra spinner in the squad for Adelaide as we are unsure what conditions we will see there," he said. "Stephen was included in our squad that was to go to Bangladesh and if he should get an opportunity we think he will make the most of it."
Adelaide Test squad: Steven Smith (capt), David Warner, Joe Burns, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Steve O'Keefe, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Adam Voges
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig