Symonds to play Boxing day Test

Published: Thursday, December 25, 2008, 11:53 [IST]
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Symonds inculded in Boxing day Test

Melbourne: All rounder Andrew Symonds and Nathan Hauritz have been included in Australia"s playing XI for the crucial Boxing Day Test against South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Victoria paceman Peter Siddle kept his place in the team despite a moderate showing in the Perth, but all-rounder Shane Watson was again overlooked, FOX Sports reported.

Symonds has been suffering from knee soreness but on Wednesday night was cleared to play.

It was thought Symonds would face a challenge from fellow Queensland all-rounder Watson. But national selectors opted to stick with the same pace attack, choosing only to swap Jason Krejza for fellow off-spinner Hauritz.

“We have only made the one change in the side and that"s Nathan Hauritz will come in for Jason Krejza. Otherwise we are pretty happy with what most of the rest of the guys did in Perth," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said.

“He (Symonds) has trained well in the last couple of days. In the last three or four days it has improved dramatically from where it was at the end of the Perth game. He does feel a lot better with it. He has had a number of scans. It is really now just about management through this game and then through the next (Sydney) Test match," he added.

Symonds didn"t bowl in South Africa"s second innings in Perth and will be able to bowl off-spin in Melbourne but not his medium pacers, Ponting said.

Australia trail 1-0 in the three-match series and will lose top ranking to the Proteas if the go down 3-0. They are bidding to avert a first home Test series loss since 1992-1993 against West Indies.

Ponting said Australia had considered going into the game with an all-pace attack plus part-time spin from Symonds and Michael Clarke, but decided to play Hauritz, who took four wickets in the second Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last month.

South Africa has retained the same side, which won in Perth by six wickets, with vice-captain Ashwell Prince missing out again after failing to prove he has overcome a thumb injury.


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