Phillip Hughes named in 12-man squad for first Test
Phillip Hughes named in 12-man squad for first Test

Former Test opener Phillip Hughes has won the contest to replace retired Test batsman Ricky Ponting in the side to play Sri Lanka in Hobart next week.

National selector John Inverarity announced the squad of 12 from the WACA ground in Perth.

Hughes returns to Bellerive Oval where he last played a Test for Australia in its narrow loss to New Zealand a year ago.

The former New South Wales batsman has played 17 Tests for Australia at a batting average of 34.58, including three centuries wearing the baggy green.

Hughes' impressive Sheffield Shield form in his first season with South Australia has seen him win selection ahead of his main rivals Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan.

The left-hander became the first player to pass 500 Shield runs during the current campaign at an average of 51.80.

Inverarity said national selectors opted against bringing Hughes into the side for the South African series but said the time is now right to call him into the squad for a third time.

He confirmed selection discussions on a replacement for Ponting included Hughes, Khawaja, Quiney and Doolan.

"It mainly centred around Hughes and Khawaja given Khawaja is a number three," Inverarity said.

"But Hughes, who has just turned 24, with his recent stats and career stats that include three centuries, the case for him was compelling."

Inverarity said it would be left up to captain Michael Clarke as to whether Hughes would bat in Ponting's number three spot, or fit it further down the order.

Predictable changes to the bowling attack to take on Sri Lanka see pace bowlers Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus return to the side after being rested from the third Test against South Africa at the WACA ground.

John Hastings and Josh Hazelwood drop out of the 12 selected for the Perth Test. Both are battling injury.

Of the four pace bowlers in the squad Inverarity said only Siddle is a guaranteed starter for the Hobart Test.

Spinner Nathan Lyon is likely to start with one of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Hilfenhaus to be relegated to 12th man.

"Only Siddle is locked in," Inverarity said.

"I also thought Mitchell Johnson was the best of the bowlers in Perth."

Sri Lanka will settle on its Test squad following the completion of the tour game in Canberra against the Chairman's XI.

Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon

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