Perth : To bring variety to the bowling attack, Australia have included off-spinner Jason Krejza, leaving out all-rounder Shane Watson from the playing eleven for the first Test against South Africa starting here Wednesday.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting said he expected the Western Australian Cricket Association (WACA) pitch, which has always assisted fast bowlers in the past, to have some early life on the first day for the quick bowlers but the home team would need some variety in their attack as the match progresses.
“Shane Watson will be 12th man meaning Krejza will play the game. We think it’s going to be a pretty good wicket to bat on as the game goes on and someone who can take pace off the ball and do a good job with his finger spin will come in handy,” Ponting told reporters here Tuesday.
Krejza was overlooked for the first Test against New Zealand on a fast Gabba pitch in Brisbane last month where Watson played. But Watson was replaced by Spinner Nathan Hauritz in the second Test in Adelaide.
Hauritz was in fact a late replacement for Krejza in the squad after the Tasmanian off-spinner injured his ankle at training in the days leading up to the match.
Victorian quick Peter Siddle will also play Wednesday in what will be his second Test and first in Australia after making his debut in India in October. Siddle comes into the side for paceman Stuart Clark, who had a successful elbow surgery in Sydney Monday.
“I spoke to the surgeon and I’ve spoken to Stuart today. He went home last night which is a good sign, things went pretty well,” Australia team physio Alex Kountouris said.
“They found some spurs at the back of the joint which was probably causing his pain. They removed the spurs, cleaned up the joint and he’s back home. He’s a chance for it (South African tour). He’s definitely not out of it,” he said.