Cowan set for Aussie debut

2011-12-24 10:34

Melbourne - Australia will present India with a revamped top order for the Boxing Day Test, with opener Ed Cowan on Saturday named in the team alongside big-hitter David Warner and Shaun Marsh.

In-form newcomer Cowan was one of three additions to a 13-man Australian squad named last week for the Melbourne Cricket Ground Test beginning on Monday, after batsmen Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja were dumped.

The two other additions - Marsh and bowler Ben Hilfenhaus - also made the eleven but all-rounder Dan Christian failed to make the cut.

Australia, fresh from a humiliating defeat to lowly New Zealand in Hobart this month, will be missing all-rounder Shane Watson who is injured (hamstring/calf) while fast bowler Ryan Harris was not named in the squad.

Coach Mickey Arthur said Harris and Christian would "stay around the group" until their Twenty20 Big Bash League commitments took them away later in the week.

"And Shane Watson will also be with the group in Melbourne in order to build workloads and hopefully be fit for consideration for selection for upcoming Test matches," Arthur said.

India, ranked two places above Australia at second in Test cricket, are aiming to win their first series Down Under after failing in nine previous tours over 64 years.

Their batting line-up boasts two of Test cricket's greatest run scorers - Sachin Tendulkar (15 183) and Rahul Dravid (13 094), with Tendulkar bidding for his 100th international century on the Australian tour.

Michael Clarke's Australians meanwhile are in transition with several inexperienced players alongside Ricky Ponting, 37, and Mike Hussey, 36.

Warner has just two Tests under his belt while Marsh, who has suffered back trouble, has three.

It is hoped that right-handed Cowan will add some ballast to the top order.

The 29-year-old hit 109 for the Chairman's XI against India along with two centuries in this season's domestic Sheffield Shield and one for Australia A against the touring New Zealanders.

Australia: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Mitchell Starc (12th man).