Hughes replaces Ponting in Australian team

Last updated 16:43 06/12/2012
Phil Hughes
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PHIL HUGHES: In action for the Redbacks in the Sheffield Shield.

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A year after being axed, batsman Phil Hughes has been summoned into the Australian side for the first test against Sri Lanka.

Hughes has taken the batting spot vacated by retired great Ricky Ponting for the first test against the Lankans starting on December 14 in Hobart.

Australian chairman of selectors John Inverarity on Thursday announced the 24-year-old lefthander was in a 12-man squad for the series opener.

"Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan were the four batsmen to come under consideration to bat high in the order," Inverarity said in a statement.

"Phillip is an improved player and his recent and overall career statistics present a compelling case.

"The national selection panel holds the view that he, having just turned 24, is a very significant part of the future.

"He has received this call-up, his third, as it was considered to be the right time and circumstances for him to re-establish himself."

Hughes last played for Australia against New Zealand in the corresponding Hobart test last year.

Inverarity said the batting order for the test would be decided by captain Michael Clarke, with Hughes slotting in at first-drop an option.

Pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus return to the test squad after being rested for the third test against South Africa in Perth.

They replace quicks John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood, both injured and unavailable for selection.

Hastings has back soreness and Hazlewood a foot injury which will prevent him bowling for the next month.

Left-armers Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc retained their spots from the Perth test.     

Squad: Michael Clarke (Capt), Shane Watson (vc), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon. 

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