Fast bowler Peter Siddle has been recalled into Australia’s squad for the Boxing Day Test against New Zealand as a replacement for the injured Josh Hazlewood.
Siddle, 35, is likely to be a bowling reserve, with James Pattinson and Michael Neser already in the 13-man squad, but the final XI is yet to be confirmed.
“Peter has been brought in as a 13th player for Melbourne. He is a proven Test match performer with an exceptional knowledge of the MCG which will be a valuable part of our preparation,” Australia chief selector Trevor Hohns said in a statement.
Speaking after the squad announcement, head coach Justin Langer defended the selection of Siddle who he said shouldn’t be shunned because of his age.
“I don’t think we should discriminate against Peter Siddle, who played the last Test match (of the Ashes), because of his age,” Langer said. “We’re all about winning this Test series and we believe if required he would be the guy to do that.”
A win at the MCG will see Australia seal the three-match series against New Zealand in successive games after claiming the first Test in Perth by 296 runs.
Meanwhile, James Pattinson, who has taken 75 wickets in his 19 Tests, is the front-runner to replace Hazlewood in the playing XI.
Australia also announced their 14-man squad for next month’s three-match ODI tour of India, naming Marnus Labuschagne who will get his first chance in the 50-over cricket for his nation.
Australia’s 13-man squad for Boxing Day Test:
Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Peter Siddle.