HOBART (Reuters) - Australia have resisted the temptation to go with four seamers for this week’s first test against Sri Lanka on what is expected to be a lively wicket at the Bellerive Oval.
Spinner Nathan Lyon was retained in the side announced by skipper Michael Clarke, with Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc and Ben Hilfenhaus making up the pace bowling unit for the match, which begins on Friday.
Left-armer Mitchell Johnson, who played his first test in a year in the 309-run defeat to South Africa in Perth last week, was the quick to miss out and named 12th man.
“Obviously a tough selection getting 12 down to 11, especially with the way that Mitchell bowled in Perth, but this is the team we’ve selected for this test match,” captain Michael Clarke to a news conference.
“He is unlucky to miss out. It’s a nice problem to have when you have 12 blokes ready to perform. Whoever we left out for this test match was going to be a talking point.”
Tasmanian Hilfenhaus and Siddle were recalled after being rested for the third test against the Proteas, while left-armer Starc gets his reward for his performance in Perth, where he took 6-154.
Sri Lanka have never won a test in Australia but the hosts lost on their last visit to Hobart, falling victim to New Zealand on home soil for the first time in a quarter of a century last year.
The Australians face the tourists in two further tests, in Melbourne from December 26 and Sydney from January 3.
Team: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.
Editing by Ian Ransom