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Peter English at the SCG
January 3, 2010
Phillip Hughes, the 21-year-old opener, is back for his sixth Test after Simon Katich failed a fitness test on his injured right elbow. Katich was struck during the opening game against Pakistan by Mohammad Aamer and was given until the final morning to prove he was right, but the New South Wales captain was unable to recover in time.
"Simon Katich batted for 20 minutes in the indoor nets today," the physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said. "Simon was still very sore this morning after the net. It was decided he should be replaced."
Katich, 34, was limited in his range of shots and will miss his first game since returning from a three-year break in 2008. He was the team's leading run-scorer in 2009 with 1,111 and had developed a strong combination with Shane Watson, who replaced Hughes during the Ashes tour.
Despite Katich's strong form, it's a difficult time to miss a game with Waston in great form in his past seven Tests and Hughes desperate to make a lasting impressing following his stumbles in England. Hughes struggled with the short ball during the Ashes and was roughed up by Andrew Flintoff in his two Tests, so will be keen to show he has recovered his touch.
In his second Test in South Africa he scored centuries in both innings to confirm his promise and the selectors will be pleased to see him in the side to inject some youth ahead of next year's Ashes. It will be Hughes' first Test in Australia and he will play on his home ground, although the decision was so late it will be a rush for his family and friends to get here from the northern New South Wales town of Macksville.
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