Australia names squad for tour to SA

Cricket Australia has named its 15-man Test squad for the upcoming series against South Africa.

Cricket Australia has named its 15-man Test squad for the upcoming series against South Africa. Picture:

CAPE TOWN - Cricket Australia has named its 15-man Test squad for next month's tour of South Africa.

The first match in the three-Test series begins on 12 February at Supersport Park in Centurion, with the second test in Port Elizabeth and the third at Newlands in Cape Town.

The Test series will be followed by a three-match T20 series in early March.

The full 15-man Test squad is as follows:

Michael Clarke (c), Brad Haddin (vc), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner and Shane Watson.

Commenting on the Test squad, Cricket Australia selector John Inverarity said: "We believe this is a strong squad with sufficient flexibility for this great challenge of taking on the world's top ranked Test team.

"We have selected Alex Doolan and Shaun Marsh as two of seven batsmen in the squad. George Bailey, who played an important role in the Test team that defeated England 5-0, has been overlooked for this tour. This was a difficult decision, but on this occasion we felt Alex and Shaun have games that are well suited to facing South Africa, in South Africa.

"We consider that both are strong players of pace bowling which is important given the strength of South Africa's attack. Alex was on standby for the recent fifth Test in Sydney and scored a most impressive 165 not out against South Africa for Australia A last season," says Inverarity.

"Shaun is a talented batsman who is striking the ball very well at the moment. He has the technique and potential to do well. On this occasion these two batsmen were preferred to Phillip Hughes who we feel is best suited to a top order position. Phillip remains a highly regarded batsman whose time will come.

"James Pattinson is regaining fitness and form. At his best he is a fine Test match bowler. Jackson Bird shaded out Nathan Coulter-Nile for the final bowling position and each of these bowlers is showing encouraging form.

"The majority of the squad will depart on 29 January, with the exception of James Faulkner who will remain behind to play in the T20 Series and join the team during the warm-up game in Potchefstroom.

"The NSP is supporting Darren Lehmann and Michael Clarke in their strong desire to give this Test series the highest priority and have the best possible preparation for the players who have performed so admirably this summer. As such some Test players and others were not considered for the KFC T20 International squad," says Inverarity.