Katich will open with Hodge at No. 5 May 22, 2008

Hayden ruled out with heel injury

Cricinfo staff


Matthew Hayden was unable to prove his fitness for the first Test © Getty Images
 

Simon Katich will return to the Test team as an opener after Matthew Hayden was ruled out of Thursday's match against West Indies with a heel injury. The move was expected as Hayden, who was so sore he did not have a fitness test, has struggled with the problem over the early stages of the tour, but it further disrupts Australia's batting plans.

Brad Hodge will come in and bat at No. 5 in place of Michael Clarke, the tour vice-captain, and the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin becomes the country's 400th Test player. Hodge, who averages 58.42, was flown in from India as a shadow player and a day before he was due to leave will appear in his sixth Test.

The last time Katich was part of the Australian squad he was a one-day opener, but he has spent most of his time batting three or four with New South Wales in the Pura Cup. His previous Test was during the West Indies series in Australia in 2005.

Phil Jaques now has a greater role following the withdrawal of Hayden and he will open with Katich in a repeat of the combination used during the tour match against a Jamaica XI over the weekend. They put on 95 in the first innings and 23 in the second, and Australia will be looking for similar starts at Sabina Park.

The bowling line-up also has a fresh face with Stuart MacGill coming back after wrist surgery. Brett Lee leads the attack, which includes Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson.

Despite the changes to Australia's team in the short and medium term, Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies vice-captain, is not expecting an easier ride. "They have an inexperienced attack compared to the normal Australian team, but they are very good players and we have to give respect to them," he said. "We're not going to take them lightly because they have lost five or six key players over the last year or so. We know how good a team they are. They still have world-class players in their set-up."

West Indies are without Chris Gayle, who has a groin injury, and the suspended Marlon Samuels. "It's difficult at the beginning of an important series such as this one to have our captain out and also losing Marlon," he said. "There is an opportunity for other players like Devon Smith, Brenton Parchment, Ryan Hinds and Runako Morton, who are the guys who have been in and out of the team."

Bravo arrived in Jamaica from the Indian Premier League on Tuesday after a chartered plane was arranged by Mukesh Ambani, the Mumbai Indians owner. He is not worried about swapping from Twenty20 games to Tests in less than a week.

"I don't see it as a problem," he said. "I am mentally prepared for it and I know what I have to do to get out of [Twenty20 mode]. I am not the only one coming out of a Twenty20 tournament."

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