Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark and Shaun Tait also get a look in
McGrath will play his first Test in over 10 monthsEngland will not name its side until after a three-day match against South Australia
MELBOURNE: All-rounder Shane Watson looks set to bat at No. 6 in the first Ashes cricket Test for Australia after overcoming challenges from Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke.
Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark and Shaun Tait were also named on Thursday in Australia's 13-man squad for the opening Test against England starting from November 23 at the Gabba in Brisbane.
``Shane Watson's cricket over the last 12 months has come along in leaps and bounds, he's got a terrific record at the first-class level with the bat, and his bowling has really taken off,'' said Australian captain Ricky Ponting. Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee are almost certain to be the starting bowlers, leaving Johnson, Tait and Clark to duel for the final positions in the starting XI.
Phil Jaques, despite his two centuries against England in the past week, was not named. Australia will go with its established opening pair of Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden. Ponting will bat at his usual No. 3, Damien Martyn at No. 4 and Mike Hussey will play his first Ashes Test batting fifth.
Watson said it was inevitable that there would be comparisons drawn between himself and England captain and star all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
``I am always going to be compared to him, one because he is such a great player but also because we do a very similar thing,'' Watson said.
``But the roles that him and I play are very different. He is a superstar in their team, whereas I am there to contribute really well within the superstars around me. The greatest thing for me is that I have got two chances to be able to contribute as well as I can.''
McGrath will play his first Test in over 10 months, having spent most of this year out of cricket while his wife Jane battled cancer.
England will not name its side until after a three-day match against South Australia which begins on Friday in Adelaide. Coach Duncan Fletcher has already indicated that Geraint Jones will start as wicketkeeper ahead of Chris Read and James Anderson will take one of the pace bowling positions.
The Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (capt.), Adam Gilchrist, Stuart Clark, Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath, Shaun Tait, Shane Warne and Shane Watson. Agencies