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Updated: December 25, 2011 02:29 IST

Cowan set to open for Australia

Special Correspondent
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Ricky Ponting plays in the nets during training at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
AP Ricky Ponting plays in the nets during training at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Despite the unavailability of Shane Watson and the popular theory here that five bowlers are needed against a strong Indian batting line-up, Australia has chosen not to play all-rounder Daniel Christian in the first Test.

The playing eleven, announced two days before the Boxing Day Test, has six batsmen, three seamers, a spinner, and a wicket-keeper.

Ed Cowan, who scored a century against India in the practice game to continue his terrific domestic form, is poised to make his debut.

He'll walk out to open with David Warner while Shaun Marsh, who is returning after recovering from a back injury, is set to bat at one-drop, making it an all left-handed top three.

Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey, whose spots are under pressure, line up alongside captain Michael Clarke in the middle-order.

The bowling attack has one change from the team that played New Zealand.

Ben Hilfenhaus was chosen instead of left-armer Mitchell Starc to share the fast-bowling duties with Peter Siddle and James Pattinson. Clarke said Hilfenhaus' control and ability to bowl long spells had played a part in his inclusion.

“I'm confident we've got the best eleven to win this Test match in these conditions,” said Clarke. “DC [Christian] offers a lot with both bat and ball but unfortunately for him right now, we can't fit him into the eleven.”

Australia: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (capt.), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin (wk), Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon, and Ben Hilfenhaus.

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