Jaques replaces Langer for MCG
Australia's season of change has continued with Phil Jaques, the New South Wales opener, picked to make his debut in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Jaques will open instead of the injured Justin Langer after Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, decided Michael Hussey would stay batting out of position at No. 5.
Hohns said Jaques demanded selection when Langer was ruled out with a left hamstring injury. "His form has been outstanding for New South Wales over the past few seasons and he thoroughly deserves the opportunity," Hohns said. "We have taken the option of selecting a specialist opener in Jaques, enabling us to stabilise the middle order where Hussey has been doing a great job."
Stuart Clark, the 12th man in Perth, was dropped to make way for Stuart MacGill and Andrew Symonds, who currently averages 12.62, has been given another chance to seal the allrounder's berth. "MacGill's inclusion allows the option of us playing two spinners if the conditions in Melbourne suit," Hohns said.
Jaques, who will be the third batting debutant in five Tests, showed fine timing when he scored his third ING Cup century in a row on Sunday, and he also has 400 Pura Cup runs at 50 this summer. Langer was rated a 50-50 chance by Errol Alcott, the team physiotherapist, of playing in the third Test at the SCG starting on January 2.
Australia squad Matthew Hayden, Phil Jaques, Ricky Ponting (capt), Brad Hodge, Michael Hussey, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist (wk), Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath.