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Australia name a team of rookies for Sydney Test


Posted: Jan 02, 2009 at 1201 hrs IST

Sydney: Pacer Doug Bollinger and all-rounder Andrew McDonald will make their Test debut as Australia named one of its most inexperienced teams in decades for the third and final cricket match against an unchanged South Africa in Sydney.

Along with 27-year-old Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle, 24, McDonald and Bollinger will make up one of the youngest and the most inexperienced Australian pace attack as the selectors begin the rebuilding process after the Aussies lost their first home series since 1992-93.

Australian selectors opted for Bollinger in the playing XI over Tasmanian seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, who will be the 12th man, apparently because of the New South Wale player's knowledge and success at his home ground -- the SCG.

With Brett Lee missing due to injury, Johnson will lead the attack, with Victorian quick Siddle being the third fast bowler as Australia attempts to avoid a home series whitewash in over a century.

It will mean Australia will play two left-arm pacers for the first time in nearly 20 years. Nathan Hauritz retained his place on the spin-friendly SCG despite criticism of his conservative bowling in the second Test in Melbourne.

Ponting said the decision between Bollinger and Hilfenhaus came down largely to the game's location. "That's probably a lot to do with his overall skills at the SCG. He knows the conditions very well and will hopefully swing the new ball and late in the innings as well," said Ponting on the selection of Bollinger.

Meanwhile, South Africa will field an unchanged team that beat the Australians by nine wickets in Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Captain Graeme Smith, who batted with pain in the first two Tests due to an elbow injury, will lead the side which scripted history by beating the Australians at their own

backyard. Smith, who will fly home after this match and skip this month's one-day series against Ricky Ponting's side to rest and recover in time for the home Test series against Australia next month, is desperate to score a 3-0 series sweep to hand the Proteas the top ranking in Test cricket.

Vice-captain Ashwell Prince failed a fitness test on his injured thumb. This means Jean-Paul Duminy retains his place in the middle order after scoring an unbeaten 50 and a magnificent 166 in the Perth and Melbourne Tests in his debut as Prince's replacement.

"We are announcing an unchanged eleven for this Test match. Ashwell Prince wasn't considered. Yesterday in his training he still had quite a bit of pain in his thumb," Smith said.

The Teams:

Australia: Ricky Ponting (capt), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Andrew McDonald, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger, Ben Hilfenhaus (12th man).

South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini. 12th man: Robin Peterson.

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