Australia playing XI for 1st Test against India

Australia has announced playing XI for the first Vodafone Test against India, which begins at the MCG on Boxing Day.

Opener Ed Cowan will debut for Australia in the Boxing Day Test against India while Ben Hilfenhaus and Shaun Marsh were also named in the 11.

Cowan has scored centuries in each of his past four innings for Tasmania and the Chairman’s XI against India in a warm-up match while Marsh returns from a back injury and is fresh an unbeaten 99 for Melbourne Renegades in the BBL on Thursday night.

David Warner, who scored a century on debut in the New Zealand Test, will open with Ed Cowan, replacing the dropped Phil Hughes.

Swing bowler Hilfenhaus also makes a comeback to the Test team at the expense of Mitch Starc who will carry the drinks.

“He [Hilfenhaus] is a very good new ball bowler and he can bowl long spells and he has had success against India as well so there’s probably a few reasons why we decided to go with Hilfy”, said Captain and selector Michael Clarke.

“I can use Michael Hussey, Ricky Ponting and myself to bowl a few overs. David Warner can bowl a few legspinners.”

“We feel we have got the right 11 to give ourselves a chance to win the Test match.”

Clarke said 21-year-old Starc was disappointed when told he was dropped.

“Mitch is obviously disappointed. He would have loved a chance but he understands the reasons.”

“He has to keep working hard at his game now to continue to improve. (He needs) to go back to his Big Bash team and New South Wales and continue to take wickets,” he said.

Ryan Harris and Dan Christian will stay around the group until their Big Bash League commitments later in the week, and all-rounder Shane Watson will also be building his workload with the group in Melbourne in a bid to be fit for consideration for selection for upcoming Test matches.

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin, Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, David Warner, Mitchell Starc (12th man)

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