Australia hand Cowan debut, Hughes, Khawaja axed

SYDNEY,  (Reuters) – Ed Cowan will open the batting on his debut for Australia in next week’s first test against India after being included in an extended squad announced  yesterday.

An injury to Shaun Marsh forced selectors to name a 13-strong squad for the test, which starts next Monday. Uncapped all rounder Dan Christian was included as back-up for top order batsman Marsh.

Opener Phil Hughes, as expected, lost his place in the team after a miserable series against New Zealand and Usman Khawaja also paid the price for repeated failures with the bat.

All rounder Shane Watson and pace bowler Ryan Harris were not considered because of injury, while the dependable Ben Hilfenhaus has been recalled to add another option to the bowling attack.

Lefthander Cowan, 29, has been in fine form for Tasmania this season and scored a timely 109 against India in the ongoing three-day tour match in Canberra on Tuesday.

Australia and India will play four tests, starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) before matches in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.

Squad – Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey, Brad Haddin, Dan Christian, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon.

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