Sydney - All-rounder Moises Henriques
earned a surprise recall on Tuesday to Australia's Test squad for Sri Lanka
after James Pattinson was ruled out injured, with Stephen O'Keefe included as a
Australia are embarking on their first Test
tour of Sri Lanka in five years, as part of a two-month series that also
involves five one-day internationals and two Twenty20s.
Henriques was an unexpected choice,
returning for the first time since 2013 with pacemen Pattinson and Peter Siddle
both ruled out with back injuries.
Nathan Coulter-Nile was also included in
the 15-man squad for the July-August Test series, along with O'Keefe who was
picked for last summer's final Test against the West Indies but overlooked for
their two-match tour to New Zealand on green, seaming pitches.
Pace spearhead Mitchell Starc returns to
Test cricket after a six-month injury absence.
"This squad has proven experience in
sub-continental conditions," said national selector Rod Marsh.
"Henriques comes into the squad to
give the flexibility of an additional all-rounder option, having already shown
he plays and adapts well to spin-friendly conditions.
"He has been working hard with his
fitness and we believe he is in prime condition to serve us well should he be
selected to play.
"Jackson Bird and Nathan Coulter-Nile
join the squad and will give us good control and pace."
He added that O'Keefe would complement
Nathan Lyon well, if selected in the final XI.
"We know his ability, he takes wickets
continually in first class cricket and he impresses when we select him to play
Test cricket," he said.
But Pattinson's omission is a setback,
failing to recover from the back problem he picked up on the New Zealand tour.
"Unfortunately his back pain
continued... and after further investigation it confirmed that he has had a
recurrence of a back stress fracture," said Cricket Australia
physiotherapist David Beakley.
"James will continue to spend the
winter recovering from this injury, at which point we hope to have a clearer
view of timelines for his return to play."
The top-ranked Australia play Tests in
Kandy, Galle and Colombo from July 26 with Lyon and Khawaja the only players to
have previously experienced the five-day game in Sri Lanka, when Michael
Clarke's team won their last series 1-0 in 2011.
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges.