Australia v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Melbourne

Bird, Khawaja in squad for Boxing Day Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 18, 2012

Comments: 142 | Text size: A | A

Usman Khawaja pulls during his half-century, South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, November 20, 2011
Usman Khawaja could make his return to Test cricket on Boxing Day © AFP
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Jackson Bird, the Tasmania fast bowler, could make his Test debut at the MCG on Boxing Day after being included in Australia's squad as a replacement for the injured Ben Hilfenhaus. Usman Khawaja has also been named in the 13-man group as the Australians wait on the fitness of captain Michael Clarke, who retired hurt during the Australia's second innings in Hobart with a hamstring injury.

Clarke is hopeful he will be fit for the second Test against Sri Lanka but Khawaja will come into contention if Clarke takes longer than expected to recover from the problem. The rest of Australia's squad remains the same, with Mitchell Johnson retained after being named 12th man for the Hobart Test.

"It's not too bad. I've got a bit of time leading up to the Boxing Day Test, I'll be having plenty of treatment but I'll be confident I'll be right for Boxing Day," Clarke said. "I'm always going to be positive because I know I'm in great hands with Alex [Kountouris], I know how good a physio he is, I know how good my physio is in Sydney over the next few days.

"They'll communicate and I'm really confident with eight days turnaround, I'll be giving myself every opportunity to be right. Mickey and the selectors will give me as much time as required leading into the game. My preparation will be a bit different in the lead up to this Test match but I've done a fair bit of batting so I'm confident if I can do everything in my power, I'll be right for Boxing Day.

"It's a strain, to what level I don't know, the scans were pretty positive and I'm in really good hands."

The national selector John Inverarity said that Khawaja had earned the right to return to the national team after scoring in testing conditions in the Sheffield Shield so far this summer, notably making runs on a Gabba green-top against South Australia at the start of the season, then compiling a century on a treacherous Hobart surface against Tasmania. Inverarity also confirmed Shane Watson would lead the team if Clarke was unfit.

"Usman turns 26 today, just one week younger than Jackson Bird, and he has been in good form this season. He has played especially well on occasions when conditions for batting have been very difficult," Inverarity said.

"If Michael is not able to take his place in the side then Shane Watson will captain the team. Shane acquitted himself well when he deputised for Michael in the ODI series in the Caribbean earlier this year in March."

Inverarity's panel will need to decide on their preferred attack for Melbourne, with Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle having bowled the side to victory at Bellerive Oval. Johnson and Bird are likely to be battling for one position.

Bird, 26, burst on to the first-class scene last summer with 53 Sheffield Shield wickets at an average of 16 in his debut season, topping the tournament tally. He has followed that strongly this season with 27 victims at 20.55 and is again on top of the Shield wicket list.

"We'll pick the best attack to take 20 wickets, if it's two left-armers, it's two left armers," Clarke said. "Jackson is the leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket this year so that was certainly the main factor in us bringing him into the squad."

Squad David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Michael Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 20, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@Micky Panda Cowan is averaging 33 after 11 tests, that doesn't sound good but he has looked gritty from what i have seen, give him the Sri Lanka series before we make calls to drop him.

Posted by   on (December 20, 2012, 14:17 GMT)

@Micky.Panda, Cowan is averaging 41 so far this season, not good enough?

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 20, 2012, 13:15 GMT)

@Hyclass interesting to think about our future leaders, Khawaja recently captained the Chairman's X1 so he is seen as one of those leaders. Warner would also be a good leader, he seems to have a very aggressive cricketing mind similar to Warne and Clarke.

Posted by hycIass on (December 20, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

What we need is another 'pup' not another "Clarke", a youngster who has done well at shield and is ready to take the next step and Khawja is that man, its good to see the selectors realise this. Long term i see that the likes of Warner, Khawaja, Cowan or Hughes will take the captaincy once Clarke retires as the best captain we have had after Border.

Posted by Micky.Panda on (December 20, 2012, 9:19 GMT)

The team needs more batting depth. If Clarke and Hussey both fail, its game over right now. I would suggest: Either Rogers or Doolan in place of Cowan, Henriques in as alrounder possibly in place of Watto till he finds some form, give Cutting (I like talls) a go as has been consistent for a long time and bats quite reasonably. If pitch not ideally suited to a spinner bring in O'keefe as all round spinner in place of Lyon, then then the team can bat virtually to number 11 Siddle. This also gives plenty of bowling options, but leave out a pure batsman if Watto still in the side. I don't think can keep both Cowan and Watto right now. Neither is getting enough runs.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 20, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

khawaja is the best domestic test batsman & lyon is the international spinner for Oz this shows how much quality in CA. hauritz is the victim of clarke's senior axing policy. Oz will now understand the ignorance & how previous was LOVE, Maher, blewett, de vinuto, hodge, law, elliot, WK campbell, hopes due to no rotation policy these players faded. after the legacy of warne Oz have lyon their best spinner. look at the downfall of quality.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 20, 2012, 5:26 GMT)

@Test-is-the-best: But isn't it different to what it is now? i mean the teams played rarely and there was no odi cricket as well in the 60's and early 70's, its not the same thing now, teams play often, and 16 years ago srilanka even managed to win a world title, they have taken a lot of time, ok but in any case that doesn't mean that they can talk trash about us, need to look after their own team in the first place

Posted by jimbond on (December 20, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

Khwaja as of now seems to be vastly overrated. It is difficult to understand the support he gets on these pages- given his limited achievements. Even if he is there as a backup, I hope he doesnt play. Granted that the Australian first class level is tougher than in other countries; still a first class average of 43 and a test average of 29 does not indicate greatness.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 20, 2012, 0:25 GMT)

Jono Makim, Rahul_ashok, ross_fleming are right. khawaja has not only scored runs but runs in the most difficult conditions when everyone around him is collapsing. reminds me of his match winning and series levelling innings in south africa. class like khawaja always make their way back into the team. and good timing too, 4 openers in the top 4 is not ideal, and should any of the top 3 fail then khawaja would be well placed to step in at 3.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 19, 2012, 23:38 GMT)

@Jono Makim well said champ. I also mentioned this earlier in my post that not only has he scored on pitches which frankly were made for only fast bowling but also improved on what was asked of him(i.e fielding and running). Credit must go to boof. @AKS286 i can't remember RossFleming comparing Lyon to Warne so lets not add fact to fiction, agree with Ross that Khawaja has improved on what was asked of him and deserves his opportunity which i am sure you are acknowledging as well.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 19, 2012, 23:30 GMT)

@AKS286 i have to agree with Ross_fleming, lets not be blown away with comparisons but acknowledge that Khawaja has scored heavily in shield in some testing conditions this year and has improved his fielding and running under Lehman which is why he has been rewarded. The selectors have managed both Hughes and Khawaja both to perfection allowing them to grow as players and improve on their weakness's.

Posted by Booniedoon on (December 19, 2012, 23:23 GMT)

Shame if Clark is out, but really looking forward to Usman getting another hit in the baggy green

Posted by Booniedoon on (December 19, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

Khawaja pulled out of his obligations with the Sydney Thunder for a measly Test match!! Outrage!

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (December 19, 2012, 23:12 GMT)

@ Narbavi - Mate most countries spent long time to register their first victory aginst others in their own backyard. Ok leave alone the other countries.Just checkout how many test matches india spent to register their first test win against other nations. India recorded its first winin its 12th Match in Australian Soil after loosing 10 Tests out of 11 Tests . Here are the others; (vs NZ- 1st / vs SL- 5th / vs SA-10th/ vs WI & AUS 12th/ vs Pak & Eng -22th)

If you compare W/L ratio ; Indian records in Australia,South Africa & New Zealand, it looks better than Sri Lanka. On the other hand Indian records in West Indies/England & Pakistan is poor than that of SL.

Posted by Gazooligan on (December 19, 2012, 17:27 GMT)

@johntycodes I'm pretty sure the Australian government doesn't have the power to force people out of retirement to represent the country in tests, which is probably a good thing because I think it would be a step in the wrong direction to consider Ponting or Katich at this point in time. Find the right hungry young players, give them some time to find their feet and slot in to the team and some of the creases will soon iron out.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 19, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@ross_fleming what happen to you all fella. sometimes you all compare lyon to warne, ajmal, swann, panesar. sometimes khawaja to amla. quiney, birt, klinger, s.marsh, ferguson, cosgrove, forrest, bailey,etc are far far better than khawaja. all left handed batsmen in oz.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 13:58 GMT)

I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned it yet, but Khawaja was asked to improve on two things by the NSP, his fielding and his running between the wickets, anyone watching the Ryobi Cup this year will be in enthusiastic agreement that these two aspects of his game are now peerless. Furthermore he made what was perhaps the most sparkling of centuries recently in Tasmania, outscoring the opposition alone by a vast ratio, former Australian superstar Darren Lehmann called it the century of the century. Keen observers of the game will have also not forgotten his amazing feats in Australia's last tour of South Africa where he tamed the hitherto fearsome attack of Morkel and Steyn, reducing them to a grovelling mess as he lead the Baggygreens fearlessly to an emphatic series squaring conquest. Yes folks you will not find a more qualified man for the job than Queenslands very own U.Khawaja! Bring on the Uz-man!

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 19, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

@AKS286 Khawaja is a good young talent coming through. He is not Bradman but he is a batsman in the mould of Amla if given the time to develop. He is the right man at the moment, and hasage on his side and scored in testing conditions this season. He is showing the right attitude and improving his game along with his fielding and running and thats exactly why the selectors have rewarded him.

Posted by AKS286 on (December 19, 2012, 12:49 GMT)

@ross_fleming just forget what Lehmann said who is Lehmann a ordinary middle order batsman, just look at the stats of other middle order batsmen in the world. why you all overrate the ordinary mediocre players. i read lots of comment about khawaja since ashes that he very much talented, awesome, current best in Oz domestic, extraordinary talent, tremendous,etc but if bradman bats left handed then we called hey its a khwaja. if the talent of warne is increased 3 times then warne will be like lyon. this

Posted by Narbavi on (December 19, 2012, 12:30 GMT)

@Test-is-the-best: My comments are directed towards lankan fans who despite having not won a single test in australia talk trash about the indian team!!

Posted by Narbavi on (December 19, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

@Htc-Android: last year england came with their full strength side to play 5 odi's against india, we fielded a second string side and guess what? We won the series 5-0, do a bit more research before talking about reserve players!!

Posted by Meety on (December 19, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

Interesting to see what the final NSP selections are for the game. IF, they are to follow the "formulae" they revealed just prior to the Saffa series, (but didn't use in Adelaide), - the Oz attack will be Siddle, MJ, Bird & Lyon. Team Management stated that they will have two seasoned campaigners plus (for want of a better word) youngster in the pace attack. This was meant to be Siddle & Hilfy to be the mainstays with Starc, Patto & Cummins rotated around them. Due to Patto being our best pace bowler at the Gabba, they couldn't rest him & then look what happenned. Will they rest Starc after a match turning display? MJ would take the Hilfy role, then would they want to Lefties? Look forward to theeir decision, still reckon Cutting should of got the nod - but no disputes over Bird's record.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 19, 2012, 11:44 GMT)

Inevarity is spot on with his comments. Khawaja has earned the right to return to the national team after his high scores in testing conditions in game 1 against South Australia on a green Gabba deck where he got 90 and then his 140 on a treacherous Hobart surface against Tasmania which Lehman rated as the best innings he has seen, good on the selectors for rewarding not only runs but runs in tough conditions.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 19, 2012, 11:39 GMT)

@Alex Bakogianis pot on, Khawaja and bird are the right guys, both 25 and at that age where they can shine at the top level, well done Inevarity and the selection panel. @Funkybluesman and @cheapskate I was critical of Khawaja last season as well, but thhe fact is that Khawaja was asked to improve on 2 things, fielding and running between wickets, he has done both in abundance this year under Lehman's guidance. Furthermore he has scord on extremely difficult tracks as acknowledged by Inevarity against Tasmania where he outscored Tasmania and also against a star NSW attack where he outscored the likes of Clark, Warner and Watson. He has the best technique out of all the younger batsman going around and he has to be the best replacement for Clarke if he is unfit.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 19, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

It's actually a change (for the good) to read mostly well thought out posts form both camps.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 19, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

bird has a good record but so does hastings, another medium pacer. ben cutting has been in the squad before, has pace and is a good field and bat. my team would be, with cowan dropped, warner, watson(left right combo to open with watson where he bats best), hughes, khawaja, clarke, hussey, wade, cutting, starc, siddle, lyon

Posted by dunger.bob on (December 19, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

@ BG4cricket on (December 18 2012, 21:12 PM GMT) : Agree with you about Watto. Quality overs I thought and way more than he was supposed to bowl. Of course some runs would be nice, but I think he's already outscored Punter who was batting at 4. .. Lets give him a bit of time to settle back in. What he probably needs most of all is to be injury free for a while. There's nothing like an injury to interrupt any form you might have.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 19, 2012, 8:24 GMT)

@funkybluesman i take your point on Khawaja, but you may not have seen him this year in Ryobi and shield. Under Lehman his game is much more aggressive and alot more intent in his fielding and running between the wickets. As Inevarity rightly acknowledged Khawaja has scored in some very difficult conditions and that is a must for the Ashes as we will get tough conditions there against their bowling attack.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 19, 2012, 8:22 GMT)

@On the boundary is correct, Khawaja has improved his fielding and running under Lehman and is a long term prospect for us. Hughes is the best opener in the country and Khawaja will fit in well at 3 in the long term. @popcorn agree wiht you that Khawaja can bat anywhere in the top order but probably best suited to 3 in the long term.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 19, 2012, 6:40 GMT)

@Gishan Manoj Abeydheera :Same for you guys as well, better stick to your team and do not come over to indian forums and talk trash there, when u do that we are supposed to retaliate

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 6:26 GMT)

Dont like Starc. he can only take tailend wickets. when it counts he bowls rubbish. Not sure why Cutting isnt in the equation with Bird.

Posted by Ringlin on (December 19, 2012, 4:40 GMT)

Got to feel for Ben Cutting, consistent year-in year-out and can't even make the squad and is quickly becoming a genuine all-rounder: Bowls in excess of 140kph with control and pushing close to an average of 30 with the blade. Am I missing something here?

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

Bird has proved his worth in SS ditto khawaja both deserve a chance but khawaja only if Clarke can't play.stats have clearly shown that Watson has to bat 1-2. And Lyon has potential and aus has no one else. I would prefer pattison/cummins over starc but they are injured. So starting 11 is 1 Cowan 2 Watson 3 Hughes 4 Clarke/khawaja 5 hussey 6 Warner 7 wade 8 siddle 9 starc 10 bird 11 Lyon

Posted by Htc-Android on (December 19, 2012, 4:16 GMT)

To all the Ausie fans. Please ignore Sinhaya-2. He is not a Sri lankan fan. He is posting comments like this to provoke everyone against us.

Posted by On_The_Boundary on (December 19, 2012, 4:10 GMT)

Great to see Usman back in the squad, I thought he was put in too early - now his play (and fielding) have improved, so who knows - this may be the start of many test matches for him in the baggy green.

Posted by Htc-Android on (December 19, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

@Sinhaya-2 Whom are you trying to fool here mate. I am 100% sure you are in indian fan pretending to be a srilankan.

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (December 19, 2012, 2:45 GMT)

@ Narbavi , All visiting teams have a poor test record in Australia although England ,Soth Africa & Westindies possess a bit better W/L ratio. Your comments are too harsh as SL foughted well this time to make a nail biting end. Even South Africa had a tough time on first two test matches before winiing the test series. Do you reckon or comment Australian team to play 9 players or reserve players when INDIA is defeated this way????.

Posted by L.P.Grace on (December 19, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@ASK are you serious? Drop Warner and Hughes for Voges and Klinger. We get rid of on 30+y.o and you wanna bring two more in for two of the best young batsmen in the world? I won't even get started on bringing Beer of all people into the team.

On a side note N Lyon is being unfaily judged by alot of you on here. He has been very successfull thus far in his short career and is the best long-term option. Hauritz could do the job if need be (he has been unfairly treated by selectors I feel) and Boyce, Zampa etc look promising, but right now Lyon is the best.

Posted by popcorn on (December 19, 2012, 1:36 GMT)

This is a No -Brainer. The Team is auto selected. Mitchell Johnson is a shoo-in after his sperlative performance with the ball and his catching at the WACA.And Khawaja will come in if Michael Clarke has to sit out if his hamstring doesn't heal in time.I think we need to watch for consistency in the Top Order in the next two Tests before we select the Team to tour India. Though Warner and cowan did well at Hobart, Warner was horrible at the WACA. And Shane Watson has to find his feet at the Number 4 position.And we need to see consistency from Phil Hughes at No.3. But I am glad that the Selectors are rewarding the consistent performance of Usman Khawaja. He could fit in at ANY OF THE Top Four positions.

Posted by Moppa on (December 19, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

My first post seems to have been misunderstood. I wasn't complaining or criticising the selectors for using Khawaja as a stop-gap, just saying it was a pity that he hadn't got an extended run yet because he's a great long-term prospect. Of course, he'll put on the baggy green whenever given the chance, and rightly so.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 19, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

@Stormy16 is correct. Well done to Inevarity, Arthur and Clarke on rewarding performance. The fact is that Khawaja was asked to improve on 2 things, fielding and running between wickets, he has done both in abundance this year under Darren Lehman. Furthermore he has scored on extremely difficult tracks against Tasmania where he outscored Tasmania and also against a star NSW attack where he outscored the likes of Clark, Warner and Watson. He has the best technique out of all the younger batsman going around and he has to be the best replacement for Clarke at present. The fact he was captain against the Sri Lankans in the warm up game shows the selectors are seeing the improvements they wanted. Good luck to him.

Posted by   on (December 19, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

At least this confirms that Quiney was 100% sacrificed to the SAF bowlers so that P. Hughes could have an easy run against SL. Very uncool for Bobby, regardless of his performance.

Posted by SloppyJoe on (December 19, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

Bird and Starc together is too inexperienced for mine (Bird's ~130km/h bowling is also a bit slow, but I'm not placing too much emphasis on that). My team for boxing day (assuming Clarke is out):

1.Warner 2.Cowan 3.Hughes 4.Watson (c) 5.Khawaja 6.Hussey 7. Wade 8. Johnson 9.Siddle 10.Starc 11.Lyon

Posted by PFEL on (December 19, 2012, 0:09 GMT)

i have a feeling Hilfenhaus could have a tough time getting back into the side, especially if other bowlers stop getting injured so often

Posted by whizzer801 on (December 18, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

Please get yourself fit Clarkey. I cannot stand the thought of Watson captaining Australia. It is bad enough to have a top 4 batsman who averages only 36 and has a conversion rate of scoring two 100s from twenty times passing 50, without having him as captain as well. It has been embarrassing watching Watson in the field over the past two tests. In the slips he starts low but still can't get a hand on a ball that hit him on the ankle, and then when Clarke hid him at mid off, he looked like the penguins from Happy Feet when running (well waddling) after the ball. At least he bowled a few over in this test match. Scores of 10, 25, 30 and 4 - he should be dropped - but is being talked up as captain. Please Clarkey, get fit.

Posted by funkybluesman on (December 18, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

I'm still not convinced about Khawaja. He just seems to be too limited and gets tied down very easily by opposition bowlers. He has a good defensive technique, but needs to be able to actually score runs.

If Watson doesn't improve significantly in the batting department soon, then he's got to be at risk. And I think Henriques could be just the man to pick. He's had great form with both bat and ball this season, actually bowls with decent pace too. Bat him at 6, shift Hussey and Clarke up one position.

Posted by Busie1979 on (December 18, 2012, 23:40 GMT)

Good selection. Worth a look at international level and possibly a good option in England. After this season, the selectors need to start making some tough decisions as to who are the best seamers in the Australian setup. There are a long list of worthy candidates. I have to say Starc still has a bit to prove on performance at FC level, but he has some freakish skills ala Akram, and the height of Curtly Ambrose. Loads of potential there. Pattinson is a bit Steyn-like in my opinion. Cummins is a bit McGrath like but slightly quicker and slightly less accurate - in my mind, he is the least impressive of the trio. In two years time, Siddle, Hilfy, Bird, Johnson, NCN and others will be very good back up options. Butterworth, Copeland, McKay, Faulkner are good bowlers who won't get a look in. I suspect Ryan Harris is done and dusted - poor guy. I haven't seen Hazelwood play yet - will reserve judgement.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (December 18, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

I'm very conflicted about the lineup for the Boxing Day Test. I'll be at the game and to not see Michael Clarke with the stellar form that he is in will be a real shame but it would be great to get another look at Usman Khawaja in the flesh. Warner, Cowan and Hughes all acquitted themselves pretty well in Hobart. To my thinking Watson still has a bit to prove and needs to make at least 50 in the first innings in Melbourne. Johnson will come in for Hilfenhaus and Bird will run the drinks.

Posted by L4zybugg3r on (December 18, 2012, 23:27 GMT)

Excellent changes to the squad, good work selectors :). Don't really agree with making Watson captain because his form isn't great (should've been Hussey imo) and then we just need to get rid of Johnson.

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 18, 2012, 23:10 GMT)

Amusing that Bird is now being selected for being the Shields highest wkt taker while Johnson is above him in Test selection ranking & yet ranks 11th in Shield wkts !... Some others may also feel hard done by...

Lots of funny calls about Lyon & spinners - O'Keefe is the leading wkt taker among spinners (21st in all bowlers) with Beer, Hauritz, Maxwell, Lyon following closely behind, with Boyce lower down the rankings... Yet to see a spinning pitch this season & probably will not see one, so unless you have been to all the Shield games it would be impossible to make a call on Oz's best 2 spinners atm...

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 18, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

@Shaggy076... Agree, Lyon has done better than the overseas supposedly greats in Oz... Lyon also did well in SL & more recently in WI's, so we have a reasonably good idea of what he will be like in India...

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 18, 2012, 23:04 GMT)

@WheresTheEmpire I am also glad to see Khawaja and Bird in the squad and hats off to the Inevarity, Arthur and Clarke for rewarding both for their shield performances. Its everyone's dream to play a boxing day test and i hope they both get to experience it as its an awesome atmosphere. @AKS286 seriously if you were going to put a replacement for Khawaja, Doolan or Ferguson might have been the guys you mentioned, not sure where you get Vogues for and anyway Khawaja has outperformed Vogues by about 3 times the runs in shield this year. His innings in Hobart was rated by Lehman as the best shield innings he has seen.

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 18, 2012, 23:01 GMT)

@satish619chandar... Good comments on Hauritz & he should be a strong contender for the India 4 Test series as we will need 2 specialist spinners playing each match... It was a pity he got into trouble when he did & the selectors have since completely ignored him, but other players (e.g. Marsh's) have been worse & get away with it for years - guess it depends who your father is :P ...

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 18, 2012, 22:58 GMT)

@Storm16 agree with you mate, Khawaja got a raw deal last year after getting dropped 1 game after top scoring in a record 300 chase against South Africa. But he has been rewarded for runs and attitude this season which is fantastic. Selectors outlined that his move to Qld under Lehman has made him a better player and his fielding and running looks sharp now so I think he will get a longer run sooner rather then later.@Cameron Dickson as much as i am a fan of Khawaja i am not sure Watto can be taken out as he bowls as well but Khawaja is definitly the best option for the number 3 spot with Hughes as a opener.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 22:53 GMT)

Give the gloves to Hussey or Hughes and give the extra bowling spot to Wade.

Posted by MinusZero on (December 18, 2012, 22:48 GMT)

I dont see Watson ever being dropped...but he should be. The amount of money CA has put into him, he has a gold pass into the team.

Posted by Htc-Android on (December 18, 2012, 21:43 GMT)

@Narbavi. looks like England is already testing their reserve player against ur team. players like trott,swan,andersan,panesar all have been rested for the ODI series and reserve players like Butler,meaker,tredwell,briggs,woakes have been included in the squad. I advise England management to drop cook,KP,bell,morgan,finn from the squad as well. They can enjoy the christmas/new year vacation instead of wasting time on playing ODIS with your team. My humble request to cricinfo. Please publish this.

Posted by BG4cricket on (December 18, 2012, 21:12 GMT)

@Cameron Dickson - you surely can't be serious about dropping Watto ! Sure he needs runs but his bowling was very valuable in this Test and showed the value of having a genuine all rounder especially when a bowler down. He bowled very well and I don't think we could have won without him given the tight overs he bowled and the quality batsmen he got out.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (December 18, 2012, 20:48 GMT)

@Jontycodes Please name a better spinner? Lyon is never going to measure up to Warnie few ever will. But Lyon is solid he has an average around 30 which is great for a spin bowler and he does take wickets without leaking runs too badly like all of the other spinners we have tried.

I still think Ben Cutting was the choice to replace Hilfenhaus. He's got 22 wickets at 18.81 this year from only 5 matches and he's been consistently good for a few years now. Bird has promise but hasn't got much experience under his belt

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

khwaja should have been in the team vs south africa for quiney he is a good batsmen

Posted by cheapskate on (December 18, 2012, 17:51 GMT)

Puuuuuuuuuuuuurlease the Australian selectors need to be sacked and new selectors sworn in as we will be flogged in the Ashes if we keep going back to failures like Watson, Hughes,Khawaja and Mitchell Johnson and to think Watson could become captain is laughable. No more Ashes in the next 2 series for us

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 17:20 GMT)

@kirikat, I am Sinhaya who is different to Sinhaya-2 and I respect Aussies a lot and they will no doubt be tough. I wont say Aussies will lose even though they are in trouble as they are champion fighters. Hope Sri Lanka can win at the MCG but it will be very very tough. Lets enjoy good cricket.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

I have to give full credit to Australia for the win today and well done. Hope Sri Lanka fights hard in Melbourne. I know it is very tough but hope we keep playing our best. Aussies are no doubt the best in tests.

Posted by Gazooligan on (December 18, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

@johntycodes I'm pretty sure the Australian government doesn't have the power to force people out of retirement to represent the country in tests, which is probably a good thing because I think it would be a step in the wrong direction to consider Ponting or Katich at this point in time. Find the right hungry young players, give them some time to find their feet and slot in to the team and some of the creases will soon iron out.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 18, 2012, 16:53 GMT)

@NAD_SriLankanBoy, dont be too upbeat. Aussies are fighters to the end and until they have lost, they cannot be written off. Please remember lower the expectations lower the disappointment. It will be tough for us but hope we do well.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:36 GMT)

@Narbavi I'm not talking about U 19 cricket mate i'm talking abut international TEST cricket where your team is worst than your U 19 team.... you cant win abroad and not even in your home soil in piches made for your bowlers... so best thing is to ask your team to learn how to play some cricket for your country rather than worrying about other countries team selections....

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 15:33 GMT)

If Watson fails in the second test then there's a strong case for Khawaja to replace Watson for the SCG. Every other batsman over the last few tests have really proved their worth. Cowan got a century in Brisbane and 50-odd at the WACA and Hobart, Warner a century in Adelaide and two half centuries in Hobart also. Hughes got a great 80-odd in the first innings of this test and Clarke and Hussey have been piling on runs this summer. Watson's only scored 70 runs at 17.5 an innings in the last two tests. Not good enough for a number 4. Given the openers have done a reasonable (albeit inconsistent) job and our new number 3 looks good so far, I think Watson would be under some real pressure to hold his spot, only taking 3 wickets would not have helped either. If we get our number 4 batsman sorted, and the opening partnership clicks more often, it would be a formidable batting line up 1-6.

Posted by landl47 on (December 18, 2012, 15:23 GMT)

I'm not sure Bird is a long-term option, but with Hilf, Pattinson, Cummins and Hazlewood all injured, picking the leading wicket-taker out of the rest is logical. He's not really quick, so he'll have to be extremely accurate and move the ball around to cut it at test level. Philander has been a useful third seamer for SA doing just that, so Bird has a shot. Good luck to him- it's a great honor to win a cap, so don't knock him before he's even played a game.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 18, 2012, 15:08 GMT)

Glad to see Kawaja in - I reckon this guy got a raw deal last summer. Ironically everyone (Marsh, Quiney) have been total failures while Kawaja didnt really fail and in SA, played well against a tough bowling attack. I know alot of you will have ago at me but I reckon Aus need to get Johnson in to the team. He can be a genuine match winner which Aus needs badly. He is experienced and brings in an x factor. With all these young (and old) fast bowlers falling around like flies, I think Aus need to invest in Johnson ahead of India and the Ashes and get him back to his best.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 18, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

@jpeacock158. Starc is THE emerging bowler within Australia, he is only 22yo. The Akram reference is due to him getting taught by the great man himself in the off season. Akram, btw, has been very interested in his development & has spoken glowingly of his potential. No doubt we are still a long way short of being a complete team, but it is very reassuring to know we are ranked so high with a lot of boxes still to be ticked. When they are, cricket, the Aussie way, will resume normal services! It would have been a travesty (IMHO) that we should have been #1 if we had won at Perth due to the simple factwe have still a way to go, but this game & its intricacies is why I love the game so much & still enjoy playing it.

Posted by NAD_SriLankanBoy on (December 18, 2012, 14:46 GMT)

whoever comes in.....SL will win the second test if clarke doesnt play recovering from his injury..that'll be good cos we'll be back level at 1-1 and that'll leave a good stage for the series..

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 18, 2012, 13:45 GMT)

Man, people complain when Quiney is used as a stop-gap replacement. And now complaining about Khawaja because he hasn't been given an extended run. Come on... SOMEONE HAS TO PLAY!! A baggy green should be cherished no matter the situation.

Posted by hycIass on (December 18, 2012, 13:11 GMT)

@Moppa and @Rahul_Ashok have to credit Inevarity and Clarke for rewarding performance. As much as I don't want Khawaja to be a one test player you take your opps when you get them. Alot of blogs on how selectors favour certain players and these selections show that they are rewarding good performance in shield. I am hoping Clarke pulls up well but if not then fantastic opportuinty for Khawaja to play his first boxing day test match. Lehman deserves alot of credit on improving his fielding and running between the wickets as well.

Posted by bouncedout on (December 18, 2012, 13:09 GMT)

@Mitcher

No chest beating, just delight at the way England played given that India have not lost a test series at home in 9 (I think) years.

Even the great Aus side of a few years ago struggled in India.

I think we should celebrate when England win because there are always enough people ready to criticise when they lose (like you for instance).

Posted by johntycodes on (December 18, 2012, 13:08 GMT)

Are australia trying to pick the best team to win matches or not. I mean it's a joke that lyon for starters ever gets a game. The bloke bowls right arm slow because he never spins it and never takes wickets on 5th day pitches but with the cover for clarke. It's not a permenant opening in the batting order it's a short term solution so why not pick someone who has been there before and done well. Ponting or katich should be brought back for one match because they can best handle the situation as opposed to a young guy.

Posted by CricketFollowers on (December 18, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Sinhaya-2, When was the last time SL won a test match, Remember?. you are right AUSSIES will win it in 3 days.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 18, 2012, 12:53 GMT)

@nthuq even though its not ideal for Khawaja to be coming in for 1 test only it shows that the selectors are rewarding performance which is what the Argus revew was all about. Read some comments that selectors won't pick him because of his background but this shows once again that its all about performance and Khawaja is deservingly getting rewarded. Has been among the leading shield scorers this year and his fielding and running looks fantastic under Lehman

Posted by AKS286 on (December 18, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

I will go for Adam Voges on clarke's position and also Voges to replace the hughes. warner is not ideal for test. Khawaja is a very ordinary But very highly overrated batsman. Klinger, cowan, watson, clarke, voges, hussey, haddin, siddle, starc, Bird/MJ/Coulter Nile, Beer.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 18, 2012, 12:31 GMT)

@Moppa even though I would like to see Khawaja get an extended run i do think its fantastic that selectors are giving him his chance which is deserving based on runs and addressing the weakness's they asked him to improve on. He is a long term prospect for us. @MaximPayne totally agree with you that Khawaja is a better option then Quiney based on the fact that Quiney has got no runs in shield this year and failed in the 2 matches provided to him

Posted by Vishnu27 on (December 18, 2012, 12:09 GMT)

@jpeacock185: what Adam Thomas Konia is trying to say (awkwardly, I agree) is that Mitchell Starc has spent considerable time working with Wasim Akram on his technique. Clearly on today's effort & Perth's, he is improving. He will be a handful come Ashes time. I agree that Nathan Lyon needs to take more wickets, especially in the second dig. David Warner should be bowling more: he's far more than decent, has a fantastic action & you lot hate legspin. Fantastic series win in India BTW.

Posted by bobagorof on (December 18, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

It's a good thing we've got plenty of First Class cricket going on at the moment for just such an occurrance. Oh, wait...

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (December 18, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Pleased to see both Khawaja and Bird in the squad. Both have earned their place and will do well if chosen in the final eleven. Both SL and Aus are playing attractive, enterprising cricket and a big crowd on Boxing Day will make this a special occasion. Have been looking at cricket ground capacity: MCG 100,000 Kolkata 90,000, Lahore 60,000, Auckland 50,000, Colombo 40,000 all provide good capacity for their fans. Compare these with Lords 28,000 and around 20,000 for most English grounds. Minnow size grounds for a minnow cricket playing nation perhaps?

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 18, 2012, 12:01 GMT)

Also I still believe Lyon is the best spinner in australia, 24 years of age and still improving. Stick with him and he will be a force on more recognised spinning decks. The truth is other than Warne there has been no spinner on Australian soil that has prised out batsmen batting for draws. Muralitharan, Vettori, Ajmal, Swann and many others have poor records in Australia. Lyon has a better average than all these. Cricketing fans just expect spinners to clean up on the last day but in Australia it hasnt happened for a long time.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 18, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

Australia cricket is definetely on the improve and cant see England or South African finding enough fast bowlers if 5 of there best 7 are out injured. What I liked this test is Starc learned about bowling in the second innings bolwed quick. Johnson out performed Starc in Perth and I believe he should have played this test however should be a good inclusion at the MCg where we will have 3 bowlers around 145 k/hr. Another great thing from this test is the discipline that Warner batted with I have been a critic of his but this test he showed he can belong.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 18, 2012, 11:38 GMT)

Good to see Khawaja there, in form Hughes and Khawaja is great for Aus cricket and they are the future of our batting lineup

Posted by jpeacock158 on (December 18, 2012, 11:16 GMT)

Adam Thomas Konia - You're joking right? Yeah Siddle is decent, runs in all day I'll give you that one, but Starc is inconsisent and not even experienced, I'm guessing your comparing him with Akram with your comment, which is hilarious! And Lyon, oh dear the only players he would scare is those playing alongside him as he gets smacked round the park! How aren't the selctors picking Hauritz, he's till the best spinner! And chuck Boyce in to grow alongside the test team.. All this "we have the best bowling attack" rubbish is comical, half your guys are injured anyway, your down to the bare bones!! C'mon England!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

The injury to Hilfenhaus, without trying to be cruel to him personally was on the whole fortuitious for the team because it forced Starc to step up! Because there were no other main bowlers to rely on, Starc's true talent came to the fore. He is only now realizing that only a genuinely aggressive atitude will bring success on the international Test arena. The great thing about Starc also is that besides possessing the genuine weapons of pace, bounce and swing, he also has a smooth action which will insure is not injury prone like other bowlers such as Pattinson and Starc who unfortunately both seem to possess a strenous action.

Posted by Narbavi on (December 18, 2012, 11:03 GMT)

@kirikat: Why do u bring me in here? by the way for your kind information my comments are a direct reflection to whatever was posted by lankan fans in indian forums mocking us all the time either we win or lose,

Posted by Narbavi on (December 18, 2012, 10:59 GMT)

@Gishan Manoj Abeydheera: guess its time for u to rewind your memory about the recent under 19 world cup, srilanka got knocked out big time and india beat australia in the final to win the title, so much for your under 19 theory!!

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:57 GMT)

Both good decisions in my view. I really hope Bird gets a game or even two to see if he can transfer his shield bowling to the test arena. That's always the big question mark I suppose. Having only seen him bowl very briefly in a couple of T20's its hard to say, but certainly he didn't look too shabby! Siddle, Bird, Starc and Lyon sits very comfortably for me. Some people will no doubt think Cutting a little hard done by but he's not taking the new ball for Qld and I think the Aussies really need someone in the line up who knows how to get the most out of a new nut. Bird also has the advantage of being a little more mature than some of the other contenders and I reckon we can count on him to get through the match a little better than the younger blokes.

Posted by Da_Real_Deal on (December 18, 2012, 10:50 GMT)

Six fast bowlers injured for Australia Hilfenhaus, Patterson, Hastings, Hazlelwood, Cummins and Harris plus they got spinner who just can't take wickets on any type of pitch no wonder why they struggling to take 20 wickets.

Posted by Mitcher on (December 18, 2012, 10:44 GMT)

@bouncedout: I too like the of chuckle. But my indulgence is England getting carried away with modest success. Win back the Ashes after 16 years: go on to lose to Pakistan and get whitewashed in next Ashes. Reach number one and declare a dynasty: spend the next year winning two of five series - throw in another whitewash - and tumbling from the top ranking. Don't get me wrong, England were brilliant in India. But the chest beating is premature once again. Guess this is why England haven't produced a genuinely great side in living memory. Enjoy the ongoing mediocrity!

Posted by Moppa on (December 18, 2012, 10:43 GMT)

Johnson and Starc shouldn't both play - not because they're both lefties but because they're both expensive and unreliable. Starc has the more potential and so gets retained. I would have preferred Cutting, but on this logic Bird debuts on Boxing Day. At least we'll be able to see what all the fuss was about - my opinion is that, far from being the new Glenn McGrath or a mini Dale Steyn as some are predicting, he'll become the new John Hastings - another Australian medium pacer finding out that Shield wickets don't necessary translate to Test cricket. Of course, the selectors are being inconsistent here - Bird should have played in Perth ahead of Hastings if he was truly the next man in line. Re the batsmen, I'm baffled how anyone could think Quiney a better selection than Khawaja. I'm sorry to see Usman treated as a stop gap again, and looking forward to him getting an extended run, but he's clearly next in line.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 18, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

@Mitcher agree with you mate, fantastic to see Khawaja there.Khawaja is a fantastic talent who scored 138 against Tasmania when they as a team only got 95. And that Tasmanian team included the likes of Bailey, Paine, Cosgrove, and Doolan. He also top scored against NSW which included a star NSW attack of Starc, Hazelwood, Bollinger and Copeland. For me the most impressive improvement has been his running between the wickets and fielding which everyone has seen in the Ryobi cup. A big score in the Chairman's X1 game and he will be picked as Punter's replacement which is well deserved.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 18, 2012, 10:36 GMT)

Khawaja is the right choice, give Quiney more time to avoid the Adelaide failure again.. You can't just look purely at the stats and say Quiney over Khawaja. I'm a fan of Quiney and think he will get it right (he may need a bit more time, not sure), at the moment and given Khawaja's performance on bowler friendly wickets I think that Khawaja should get the nod if Clarke is not fit. Best young batsman in the country.

Posted by Chris_P on (December 18, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

@Sinhaya-2. Let me understand this correctly. You lost the first test to see how we would react? Interesting take on test cricket. I guess you would have preferred we go in with 9 players instead? Unbelievable.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:28 GMT)

Starc's inconsistency with the ball worries me, I feel having both him and the inexperienced Bird would be a disaster in a long - format game. Johnson isn't known for his consistency either, but I'd rather see him bowl alongside either Starc or Bird due to his experience.

Posted by tenfan on (December 18, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

@ I-Like-Cricket, I believe @FazleAbed is talking about next year - Boxing day 2013 . May be he is suggesting ultimately Khwaja will take Hussey's position

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 18, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

@FazleAbed : I think you might have forgot a important man there.. He is not injured too.. Mike Hussey..

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 18, 2012, 10:15 GMT)

Could Australia afford trying out different spinner? No doubts. Lyon has offered them loads of control over the run flow everytime and bowled tireless tight spells. But still, Hauritz had two or three final day five wicket hauls before unceremoniously dropped from the playing 11. He is still the best Aussie spinner. Australia does need a spinner who could do a bit more attacking role which would allow low pressure on their fast bowlers. Lyon could always be their second spinner waiting in the wings and improving himself.

Posted by bouncedout on (December 18, 2012, 10:13 GMT)

I love how the Aussies continue to look inwards when judging the standard of their players and teams.

All this talk of who is the best Aussie bowlers and how much strength they have in depth is laughable.

Wake up fellas, Aus have a number of 'fast' bowlers who look good playing against Aus batsmen. They don't look so good, however, when facing world class batsmen like Cook, Trott and KP.

Your 'wonderful' bowlers are going to get flayed during the next Ashes and, deep down, you know it

Posted by JimmyDean on (December 18, 2012, 10:09 GMT)

@ FazleAbed on (December 18 2012, 09:29 AM GMT), what's wrong with Mr Cricket - Mike Hussey? Surely he is currently in the best form next to Capt. MClarke and you won't include him in the team. Are you serious???

Posted by skkh on (December 18, 2012, 10:06 GMT)

FazleAbed...mate at the moment one in the right frame of mind wouldn't think of omitting Hussey from the playing XI. And considering a team for the Boxing test 2013 is a little far off.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 10:03 GMT)

It would be ideal if Punter was still playing and we had a chance to see a full shield season of Hughes n Khawaja .It was a toss up for punters replacement but I like Hughes at 3 and Khawaja at 4 eventually.Talk of Pup at 3 or 4 is sound but so is the psychological damage having a team 3 down and out walks Mr double/triple.I think Hughes is a scary prospect now he has had time to mature and Khawaja will be the same in the next 18 months.What a spanner Huss has thrown at the doubters.I've been a big supporter of punter going back to ENG for the Ashes but now it seems clear that Huss is the man we need to support for a last shot at Ashes glory on enemy soil. We have a bowling attack that worries the world!!! Bring Jackson Bird in to learn from match winner SIDDLE, Akram Educated STARC and the spinner every Country fears will getting there batsmen out for the next decade LYON.

Posted by Mervo on (December 18, 2012, 10:01 GMT)

Jackson Bird - another medium pacer. Go with Johnson, at least he is fast and with almost 200 test wickets is up there with Merv Hughes and others of the past.

Posted by Dangertroy on (December 18, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

Great selections, glad to see Bird picked, I hope he gets a game. I thought Johnson bowled well in Perth, but I don't think two eft armers is the way to go, unless in a four man pace attack. @abu1383 - top three need revamping? Cowan and Warner together scored the same as the rest of the team combined in the second innings, and hughes played well in the first innings. Warner made two patient half centuries on what was a reasonably tricky wicket. Great to see him play that sort of innings, even if he only seems to do that in Hobart... In all, the top three don't need a revamp, they need some time to gel as a team. I quite like hughes at three, having an opener there is great if a wicket falls. Infact, the current openning pair are being followed in by the previous opening pair. If watson can regain some form with the bat, then we could have a formidable batting unit.

Posted by kirikat on (December 18, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

@Sinhaya-2, I feel you are pretending to be a Sri Lankan, since you are saying "we lost the first test to see how Australia react and this is what they do in return? let it be, we will finish off the boxing day test in 3 days", but its really suspicious that Sri Lankan fan commenting about Aus in that manner, It's more like Narbavi's talking.... If you are real Sri Lankan cricket fan, please due respect to other nations.... otherwise your pointless comment bring shame on every Sri lankan....

Posted by I-Like-Cricket on (December 18, 2012, 9:51 GMT)

@FazleAbed. You're joking right? No Mike Hussey and two injured quicks? You probably should learn these things before you post.

Posted by Scheduler on (December 18, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

Well BCCI and indian selectors take some cue from their aussie counterparts. In India even if you take 100 wickets in a year and score thousand in a season they would still be not good enough for international cricket as per the selectors since they keep sayin where are the replacements for the so called Demi Gods who dont perform. India deserved to lose the series against England. Am not sure how can a player remain motivated even after performing so well he still continues slogging.The so called Indian Demi Gods believe a place in the Indian Team is their Birthright.Grow up BCCI and the indian selectors. Reward the deserving ones

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 18, 2012, 9:39 GMT)

Khawaja deserves his chance. I like Quiney but he has to go back to shield and do what Hughes and Khawaja did and that is to score runs. Khawaja and Bird deserve to be the guys coming in for boxing day.If you look at the games Khawaja has played compared to Hughes or Doolan there will be a marked difference in runs scored of the teams in those matches. Khawaja has played on at least 4 green tops this year including a game where he scored 1 and a half times the entire opposition in one inngs, whereas Adelaide is the best place to bat in thecountry......think outside of figures.. English fans will be hoping we don't pick Khawaja as he is one of the few youngsters who can handle the moving ball in England.

Posted by FazleAbed on (December 18, 2012, 9:29 GMT)

I believe Australia's Best 11 for 2013 boxing day will be 1. Warner 2.Cowan 3. Huges 4.Clark 5. Khawaja 6.Watson 7. Wade 8. Pattinson 9 Strac 10. Cummins 11. Lyon.

Posted by Potatis on (December 18, 2012, 9:28 GMT)

Bird should play, the selectors must demonstrate to all domestic players that if they perform consistently well, then they will be picked for the national side. Bird could hardly do anything more to justify a chance in the national side, and must be rewarded. Starc is a huge talent, he must keep playing. Once he settles in, I'm sure he'll bowl quality spells consistently. The wickets he took in this game should give him some confidence, and would be a good step towards making him feel he belongs at test level. Once he feels that, I believe he'll be a long term match winner for Australia.

Posted by abu1383 on (December 18, 2012, 9:21 GMT)

Great to see such a great variety in the aus bowling options. Now its time to revamp the batting order, atleast the top 3

Posted by Wefinishthis on (December 18, 2012, 9:15 GMT)

I've been extremely critical of the selectors in the past (and with justified reason), but I'll give them credit where it's due and I think they've got it right this time with selecting Bird. Unfortunately my fear is that they'll go with either Johnson or Lyon over Bird, which would be a massive disappointment. But if the selectors have their senses in order, here's hoping Bird willl be the new Pidgeon! If not, there's still Faulkner and McDermott to try (amongst many others like Gannon etc).

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 18, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

Jackson Bird is second only to Alistair McDermott in terms of players who are yet to make their test debut for Australia. While I would prefer McDermott, I don't mind Bird at all. As for Khawaja, I still don't think he is ready; but it isn't the worth idea in the world.

Posted by FazleAbed on (December 18, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

Well I am so proud of Australia. All Australia needs now Warner and Huges to be consistent as they are replacing Heyden and Ricky. Just look at the stock of Fast Bowlers. 1. Cummins, 2. Pattinson 3. Strac 4. Siddle 5. Ben 6. MJ 7. Bird 8. Jose 9. Jony Hesting. If Australia get 3 Middle order batsman and 2 Spinners they will be the best. Lyon needs time and Australia should gave it to him. They played like number one in 1st two test with SA and they will become number 1 with in next 2 years.

Posted by Hammond on (December 18, 2012, 9:08 GMT)

Jackson Bird, everyone watch and learn, this bloke is gold.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

The good thing about this is that if a batsman fails, we still have Doolan, Ferguson and Quiney on the scene and if a bowler fails, there's Putland, Cutting and Hazlewood.

Posted by Micgyver on (December 18, 2012, 9:06 GMT)

Sinhaya you obviously have no idea.These are FORCED selections with 2 injured players.Bird deserves his opportunity and though Khawaja hasnt convinced me he's probably the next best batsman we have.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

team for the g: 1.Warner 2.Cowan 3.Khwaja 4.Hughes 5.Watson 6.Hussey 7.Wade 8.Johnson 9.Siddle 10.Starc 11.Lyon

Posted by derpherp on (December 18, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Bird and Johnson i recon. Bird for Hilf, Johnson for Starc

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (December 18, 2012, 9:01 GMT)

Miraj Khan Yusufzai..australin will not make such mistake..they wil test new kids ..

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 18, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

2 tests to go and time for some in the aus test side to earn their stripes. Watson has to finally earn his test cap- has got a few in the base of 'potential' and time to put it to tangible use and show the big runs i.e 100s that is expected of a top order bat. Bowling is useful but has to grow into more than a bits and pieces parcel worthy of a team of Aus' stature . Not sure at Watto's current level of output he cuts the mustard unless you are an India or England. Time to bring on the big scores in the next 2 games.... nothing less than 100 will do either....

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (December 18, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Sinhaya-2 ..more than srilankan cricket team ..i apprecaite yoru cofidence.. as srilanks know beore the tour that they will not win any test even asutrali gives school boys.. but fans are comentng ast thoiugh this is first defeat of srilanka in australian soil :)

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 9:00 GMT)

Khawaja ought to be in the squad, even if Michael Clarke is fit. Shane Watson has had a lot of opportunities with BOTH bat and ball.

Posted by nthuq on (December 18, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Bird certainly deserves a go. Though he hasn't impressed in A games from what I've seen. Hopefully he does alright. I very much hope Clarke pulls up alright, I don't want to see Khawaja in as an injury substitute again and dropped the next game. He's our long term number three or middle order bat, he shouldn't be yoyoed like this.

Posted by Mitcher on (December 18, 2012, 8:58 GMT)

Definitely glad to see Khawaja is next in line. Though still feel Quiney copped some harsh treatment. Maybe Sri Lanka should be asked to find a new team manager. One that doesn't spread nasty allegations in the media while lacking the courage of conviction to make a formal complaint.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

To anyone who thinks Quiney should have been reinstated, his form was terrible in the two tests he played so he didn't deserve another chance. Khawaja on the other hand has forced his way into contention by weight and quality of shield runs, Quiney was in rather poor shield form this year.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:48 GMT)

finally.. jackson bird is the next dale steyn, i promise you guys.. in tests he is gold with the red ball

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 18, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Sinhaya-2 , you aren't kidding, right ?

Posted by hycIass on (December 18, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Well done selectors. Bird has been a standout this year for Tasmania and deserves his chance.I was critical of Khawaja early in the season but his batting this year speaks for itself with centuries against some very good attacks on tough decks. But for me the biggest improvement in Khawaja's game has been his fielding and running between the wickets. In the Ryobi games I have seen intend and urgency in his game which was missing last year.Hope Clarkey is fit but if not then Khawaja is the man to bring in.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Oh!!!!! Narbavi is back!!!! Dont worry mate AUS will send their U 19 team to their tour after this because their U 19 team is better than your national team as we witnessed for last 7 weeks.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 18, 2012, 8:43 GMT)

Fantasic decision by the selectors, both Khawaja and Bird have been top performers in shield this year and its good to see selectors rewarding performance. Khawaja in particular has improved his stroke play and fielding under Lehman and great to see him rewarded for it.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 18, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Not a chance at the G, @Sinhaya-2 on (December 18 2012, 08:23 AM GMT), but MC should definitely sit this one out. He'll be needed againsr Herath and Randiv in the third test. Chance also to see how Khawaja goes. He's a certainty for the India tour as reserve bat whatever happens. Should bat #5 because first three are lefties. Imo Cutting would be a better bet as an India reserve player than Bird.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 18, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

Agree with the decision. The selectors brought Hughes in to replace Ponting with a view to the future and Starc was preferred over Johnson for the same reason and i agree with this 100%. Going with this thinking Khawaja is a future star for Australia and along with Hughes has been the highest shield scorer so well deserved. Quiney didn't do himself any favours with 2 ducks on the best batting pitch in Australia and needs to get runs in shield again to be considered.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

I think Cutting should have been given a go...he is also good with the bat and was almost sure to debut before the unfortunate injury

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:37 GMT)

Sinhaya-2, i don't think you understand Hilfenhaus and Clarke are injured Bird & Khawaja are going to replace them if they aren't fit for the boxing day test, how is it over confidence if two players are injured?

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 18, 2012, 8:33 GMT)

Where's the consistency, Quiney should be in for Clarke unless this is about placing pressure on Cowan. Bird's earned his shot, MJ's a known unknown quantity.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 18, 2012, 8:29 GMT)

we have seen MJ before. Why not try and see how Bird does !! If he happens to be a perfect replacement for Hilfy, so be it. With Ashes looming large, it will be good to try out several options - And what with the bowlers falling sick every test, makes it all the more important to try out the newer ones.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 8:28 GMT)

hope to USMAN in the palying 11

Posted by Solace1 on (December 18, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

This is what i call as over confidence, we lost the first test to see how Australia react and this is what they do in return? let it be, we will finish off the boxing day test in 3 days to teach australian selectors a lesson!! cheers!!

Posted by Narbavi on (December 18, 2012, 8:20 GMT)

there you go, u can test your reserve players on the test arena against this team, that's exactly what Australia are doing!!

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