Australia v South Africa, 3rd Test, Perth

Johnson, Hastings and Hazlewood called up

Daniel Brettig and Brydon Coverdale

November 26, 2012

Comments: 118 | Text size: A | A

Mitchell Johnson bends his back, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 3rd day, November 19, 2011
Mitchell Johnson is back in Australia's Test squad © Getty Images
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Mitchell Johnson has returned to Australia's Test squad for the first time in a year and has been joined by the uncapped Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings as Australia consider their bowling options for the third Test in Perth. Mitchell Starc is also part of a 14-man group that does not feature the injured James Pattinson, nor the batsman Rob Quiney, who has been dropped after scoring a pair in Adelaide.

Shane Watson is expected to play in what should be a direct swap for Quiney, but the major questions for the selectors will surround the make-up of the attack. Four fast men could be an option at the WACA and the heavy workload experienced by Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the draw at Adelaide Oval, combined with the absence of Pattinson, might lead to multiple changes.

"He's no doubt fatigued, he's bowled his heart out that's for sure, but he's got three days to recover and get himself right, give himself every opportunity to get out on the park in Perth," the captain Michael Clarke said of Siddle. "He was outstanding today, but no doubt he's fatigued, he's bowled his heart out.

"I think [the large squad is] for options, as you've just seen Hilfy and Sidds have had a really heavy workload, bowled a hell of a lot in the last couple of weeks and Test matches, I think we need options for Perth to see how the boys follow-up. We've got to fly and a couple days of training. As a selection panel we're giving ourselves every option to work out what the best attack is for those conditions once we see them up in Perth."

Johnson, who has not played a Test for Australia since the Johannesburg victory last November, will be a serious contender given his record at the WACA. He took 11 wickets against South Africa in Perth four years ago and nine in the 2010-11 Ashes Test there, and Clarke said he was impressed by Johnson's Sheffield Shield form.

"He's been bowling really well in Shield cricket, he's bowling fast and he's swinging the ball as well which is nice to see," Clarke said. "In conditions he loves in Perth and has had a lot of success, he'll be doing everything in his power to try to get an opportunity. If you look at Starc, Hazlewood, Hastings, Johnson, they're a very handy four fast bowlers to be taking to Perth with Siddle and Hilfenhaus. We're very lucky in Australia to have some good quicks performing well, yes they're talented, but they've been performing as well."

The selectors can also pencil in the vice-captain Watson, who missed the first two matches due to a calf injury. The national selector John Inverarity said Watson was expected to return to the side when the third Test starts on Friday, and Clarke said he could see no reason Watson would be hampered in either batting or bowling.

"Shane Watson is in our squad of 14," Clarke said, "and with our not taking Rob to Perth I'm really confident Watto will be fine to take full part with both bat and ball in the Test match."

Inverarity said the uncapped bowlers, Hastings and Hazlewood, deserved their opportunities through strong domestic displays.

"John Hastings, who has played 11 ODIs and three T20s in Australian colours, deserves his inclusion in the squad following his excellent recent form," Inverarity said. "In Sheffield Shield cricket he has taken 22 wickets at 18.3 and consistently scored valuable lower order runs.

"Josh Hazlewood is a very exciting 21 year old pace bowler. He debuted for New South Wales when he was 17 and played an ODI game for Australia at 19. He has been improving steadily this season after an injury interrupted 2011-12 season.

"There is a possibility that the final XI could include four pace bowlers. The extra bowlers have been included as back-up and in recognition of the demanding workloads shouldered by Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the first two Vodafone Tests against South Africa."

Squad David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, John Hastings, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Daniel Brettig and Brydon Coverdale are assistant editors at ESPNcricinfo.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by disco_bob on (November 29, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

@TommytuckerSaffa "great news that johnson is back from a Saffa perspective..."

Is that based on SA's great record against him? Please explain, why a bowler who's broken your captains finger, drawn blood from others and smashed your best bowlers for a ton, not to mention playing on a ground where he has an impeccable record, is great new.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 28, 2012, 11:51 GMT)

jackson bird, ben cutting, nathan coulter nile, al mcdermott are obviously not far away but how can they fit them all in???? geniuses. some of these comments are just mind blowing and very concerning for humanity.

Posted by jonesy2 on (November 28, 2012, 11:42 GMT)

they will consider playing four quicks for sure but it will be a tough call due to the brilliant form of lyon so unless the pitch is really green and what not they wont play four. i think hilfenhaus might get rested to rest up for the sri lanka series. starc is a near certainty and i think mitch will play and if they go with four seamers then so will hazlewood which would be awesome to see he is such an amazing talent and could be the best of the 4 superstars young quicks. the amount of super talented bowlers around the country is staggering

Posted by MinusZero on (November 28, 2012, 6:58 GMT)

Johnson is too inconsistent. One good innings in 10 does not make a good bowler. Why isnt Butterworth or Bird considered. Tassie did produce Ponting.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

I thought the NSP adopted the policy of selecting players on form... Simply, where is BIRD? Let's compare the main candidates over the past couple of seasons of first class cricket:

Bird: 53@16 (state player of the year), 27@20.55 Johnson: 6@22, 17@29 Hazlewood: 17@30, 9@46 Hastings: ?? (not on list of top wicket takers), 22@19.09

The choice seems like a pretty fair one to me!

Posted by matt01 on (November 28, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

What a rubbish tired old selection (Johnston). Austraila need to inject new blood into this team, but seem to keep going back to the same old underperforming players. Hilfy has consistantly been out performed by his tassie counterpart Butterworth for years, and Jackson Bird would just have to wonder what on earth he needs to do to get a chance! Both Butterworth and Bird not only top the wicket taking list, their economy rates are increadible, with the added bonus of Butterworth being able to bat. Both these bolwers wiped the floor with Johnston in the tasmania match just completed yet all we heard about was Johnstons figures ??? We seem to have an obsession in Oz with having to pick the guys who can hurl the ball the quickest, how this is the case i'll never know as we had a perfect example (McGrath) of how you don't need to be the fastest to make an impact.

Posted by   on (November 28, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

I can't really understand the people saying 'build for the future'/'focus on the ashes'/'rest players with a high workload' for the coming test. In case you haven't noticed, the third test against the Proteas will decide the number one team in the world and both teams will no doubt be fielding their best possible XI.

The people calling for Siddle to be dropped after the crucial wickets he has taken are a disgrace.

Posted by Ringlin on (November 28, 2012, 1:57 GMT)

Would have liked to have seen Ben Cutting named in the squad, he can offer much more than a plodder like Hastings. Not only has his recent form been impressive (in 5 Shield games: 317 runs at 39.62 and 17 wickets at 19.23) but he's been a consistent performer for several seasons now. One would think if he continues in this vein he can't be ignored going forward.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (November 28, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

The 4 chosen should have been: McKay, Starc, Bollinger and McDermott. While I don't mind Hastings I would prefer McKay as he has more experience. I don't mind Johnson either but think that Bollinger is in better form. Hazlewood is the bizarre one. It was almost like they were thinking to themselves - which youngster is in amazing form - and somehow missed Alistair McDermott, as well as the next best, Jackson Bird. I wouldn't play either Siddle or Hilfenhaus as both were ordinary in the first 2 tests. I wouldn't consider the out of form Lyon either, especially on a pitch that doesn't suit him. So for me it is 4 new guys coming in.

Posted by Meety on (November 28, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

@smudgeon on (November 27 2012, 01:11 AM GMT) - re: Bird v Hazlewood. The only thing I can think of, is that the NSP are playing on a hunch about Hazlewood - they see something they like? Bird can't be far away from the selectors minds, & given that Siddle & Hilfy will probably be rested for much of the SL series, I'd think Bird could be in line for a Test debut soon?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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