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Rediff.com  » Cricket » McGill, Watson added to Australian squad

McGill, Watson added to Australian squad

December 30, 2004 12:53 IST

Stuart MacGill and Shane Watson have been added to Australia's squad for the third Test with Pakistan starting on Sunday after Brett Lee was dropped to get some much-needed match practice.

Lee served as 12th man in Australia's past eight Tests but the selectors agreed to release him so he could play in the domestic first-class competition.

"We felt it was unlikely Brett would be selected to play in Sydney as the three fast bowlers currently in the XI are doing a very good job," Australia's chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said in a statement on Thursday.

"So in Brett's best interests, we feel it is important for him to get some solid match practice."

Australia have used the same team in all four of their home Tests this summer.

Middle-order batsman Darren Lehmann is under pressure to retain his position in the lineup after scores of 12, 5 and 11 in the previous two Tests.

Captain Ricky Ponting has defended Lehmann's form with the bat but the inclusion of MacGill and Watson in an expanded 13-man squad is a sign the selectors are considering a change.

Watson is an all-rounder who has already represented his country in limited-overs internationals while MacGill is a proven performer with an outstanding record at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Australia's most spin-friendly wicket.

"Stuart gives us the ability to play two spinners if needed," Hohns said.

"Shane gives us the option of going into the match with a combination of two fast bowlers, two spinners and a seamer."

Australia won the first Test in Perth by 491 runs then the second in Melbourne by nine wickets to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead into the final match of the series.

Australia squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke, Jason Gillespie, Matthew Hayden, Michael Kasprowicz, Justin Langer, Darren Lehmann, Stuart MacGill, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Shane Watson.

Julian Linden
Source:
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