Ben Hilfenhaus, the Tasmania fast bowler, has been drafted into Australia's squad for the first Test after Shaun Tait's elbow injury flared in his Pura Cup return. Tait had an elbow operation in May and the recovery prevented him from touring South Africa and India with the one-day sides before the latest bout of pain.
Alex Kountouris, the Australia physio, described the injury as a minor setback, but Tait's series of problems is a worry for Australia ahead of a busy home season that starts with the Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane on Thursday. Tait developed the right-elbow soreness while playing in South Australia's loss to Tasmania, where Hilfenhaus picked up three wickets.
Hilfenhaus, who is capable of high-speed outswing, was the form domestic bowler in 2006-07 with 60 wickets at 25.30 and he was rewarded with Tait's spot on the limited-overs trips. "Ben richly deserves his opportunity after a magnificent Pura Cup season last year," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "He also impressed all with his involvement around the Australian squad in the one-day international series in India."
Hilfenhaus played in the Twenty20 match in Mumbai and will need an injury to one of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark or Mitchell Johnson to catapult into the starting XI. However, he will continue his grooming as a capable replacement when the inevitable injuries hit as Australia embark on a crammed campaign, starting with six home Tests followed by tours to Pakistan and the West Indies.