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Phillip Hughes replaces Ricky Ponting

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Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012, 9:47 [IST]

Hughes replaces Ponting in Test squad

Melbourne, Dec 6: Australia have chosen Phillip Hughes as Ricky Ponting's replacement for the first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart starting on December 14.

Australia-Sri Lanka fixtures

Ponting retired from international cricket at the end of the South Test series in Perth. Hughes, who has previously played Test cricket for Australia as a specialist opener, returns to the squad after a gap of one year.

The 24-year-old left-hander last played for Australia against New Zealand in December, 2011. He has played 17 Tests scoring 1,072 runs with three centuries.

Commenting on the squad announced on Thursday, National Selector John Inverarity said: "The NSP has today announced a squad of 12 players for the first Vodafone Test against Sri Lanka starting on Friday 14 December at Hobart's Blundstone Arena.

"Phillip Hughes has been selected to fill the vacancy created by Ricky Ponting's retirement. Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan were the four batsmen to come under consideration to bat high in the order.

"Phillip is an improved player and his recent and overall career statistics present a compelling case. The NSP holds the view that he, having just turned 24, is a very significant part of the future. He has received this call-up, his third, as it was considered to be the right time and circumstances for him to re-establish himself."

On the pace bowlers, Inverarity said: "The four pace bowlers in the squad are Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood, not being able to be declared fit to perform at the time of selection, were not considered.

"The squad welcomes the return of Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle. Neither bowler was considered to be 100 per cent fit to perform and was not included in the final squad of 12 for the recent Perth Vodafone Test match against South Africa."

Inverarity said the dressing-room will be different without Ponting and at the same time it provided an opportunity for others.

"The dressing-room will be different without the presence of Ricky Ponting. His absence creates both the opportunity and the necessity for others to grow and fill the gap."

Australia and Sri Lanka will play three Tests, five One Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.

Australia Test squad: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Ed Cowan, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade (wicketkeeper), Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.

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Story first published:  Thursday, December 6, 2012, 9:46 [IST]

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