Fifth Ashes test starts today – Australia pick two new caps


SYDNEY – Batsman Usman Khawaja and spinner Michael Beer will make their Australia debuts in the fifth Ashes test against England, stand-in captain Michael Clarke said on Sunday.
Pakistan-born lefthander Khawaja will replace injured captain Ricky Ponting, almost certainly batting at number three, while left-arm orthodox spinner Beer gets his chance after being 12th man for the last two tests. The hosts are hoping the new blood will help them get the New Year off to a good start with a victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground to level the series at 2-2 after the disappointment of failing to regain the Ashes.
Fast bowler Doug Bollinger is the player to miss out after being recalled to the squad in the wake of the innings and 157-run defeat to England at the MCG on Wednesday. Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus will form the three-man pace attack. “It was a tough call,” Clarke told reporters.
“I think Hilfy’s bowled pretty well without too much luck. Dougie’s not only a good friend but a wonderful bowler. The selectors, for whatever reason, have stuck with Hilf.” “(Beer)’s pretty excited,” Clarke added. “He’s been around the group and now he’s finally getting his chance on this pitch, which I’m sure will suit his game.”
Beer was plucked from obscurity for the squad for the third test in Perth having played just five first class matches. Team: Shane Watson, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke (captain), Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Beer.