The uncapped Ben Hilfenhaus has been called to provide Australia with another bowling option for the second Test on Boxing Day as they attempt to recover from the demoralising defeat to South Africa in Perth. Jason Krejza, the offspinner, has been dropped for Nathan Hauritz while Peter Siddle holds his place in a 13-man squad despite taking only one wicket at the WACA.
South Africa recorded the second-biggest chase in history by reaching 4 for 414 and Mitchell Johnson, who took 11 wickets, was the only effective bowler for Australia over both innings. The allrounder Shane Watson is also with the squad, giving Australia five fast men to pick from.
Hilfenhaus, a swing bowler from Tasmania, has played a one-day game and toured with the Australian team to India last year. After grabbing 60 first-class victims in 2006-07 he struggled last season with a back problem that also meant giving up his position on the tour of West Indies this year. His fitness and form has returned and he has 24 Sheffield Shield wickets at 18.66 this summer.
"Ben is in the middle of a successful Sheffield Shield season for Tasmania and has been added primarily because of his ability to swing the ball," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "He also adds depth as a new ball bowling option."
Krejza, who gained 12 wickets on debut in India, took only one for the game and gave away 204 runs. "Jason is a potentially fine spin bowler for Australia, but our view is that in Perth we were unable to maintain pressure," Hilditch said. "To successfully use our fast bowlers we needed to maintain that pressure at the spinner's end. Jason has been informed of this reasoning and has been encouraged to continue to be a wicket-taking spin bowler, but will return to interstate cricket to further those skills."
Both Krejza and Siddle were appearing in their second Test and after the match Ricky Ponting indicated he had expected too much of players with so little first-class experience. "If you look around the room tonight they were probably the two guys that are most disappointed out of everybody," Ponting said. "It's my job to get to them tonight and let them know that it might just be all part of their learning curve.
"We've all been there before as young players, where we've come in and Krejza did have immediate success but the game generally brings you back down to earth pretty quickly as well. Both Jason and Peter hopefully would have learnt a lot about themselves and what they need to do to be successful at Test level after this game."
Hauritz replaced Krejza when he turned his ankle before the second Test against New Zealand and picked up four wickets. Siddle will be particularly keen to hold his spot in the starting line-up as the second Test is played in his hometown of Melbourne.
Australia squad Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin (wk), Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle.