Johnson back in Australia squad

  • Last Updated: November 26 2012, 10:04 GMT

Australia have recalled quick Mitchell Johnson for the third and final Test against South Africa in Perth.

Mitchell Johnson: Back for Australia

Johnson, who has been out of the Test squad since suffering a serious toe injury against South Africa in Cape Town last November, was included in a 14-man group alongside John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood.

The 31-year-old looks to be returning to his best after impressive Sheffield Shield returns in the struggling Western Australian side.

With James Pattinson ruled out of the Test squad after suffering a mystery rib injury while bowling on Saturday, Mitchell Starc appears likely to take his place after being 12th man for the first two matches.

But Johnson and pace bowlers Hastings and Hazlewood could all be in line for selection, especially if Australia drop spinner Nathan Lyon and opt to take a four-man pace attack into the game as they have done in the last two Tests in Perth in comprehensive victories over England and India respectively.

The Australian selectors have spoken openly about player rotation to avoid the risk of injury, meaning quicks Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus may also be rested after having their workloads increased to cover for the injured Pattinson in the second Test.

Shane Watson has come in to replace Rob Quiney, who struggled over his first two Tests and earned a pair of ducks against South Africa in Adelaide.

And, despite a poor return of just 20 runs from the first two Tests, former skipper Ricky Ponting will have what may be a last chance to earn some much-needed runs ahead of the series against Sri Lanka.

NSP chairman John Inverarity said: "The pace bowling stocks in the squad have been boosted with the addition of the experienced Mitchell Johnson and emerging paceman Josh Hazlewood.

"John Hastings, who has played 11 ODIs and three T20s in Australian colours, deserves his inclusion in the squad following his excellent recent form. In Bupa Sheffield Shield cricket he has taken 22 wickets at 18.3 and consistently scored valuable lower order runs.

"Josh Hazlewood is a very exciting 21 year old pace bowler. He debuted for NSW when he was 17 and played an ODI game for Australia at 19. He has been improving steadily this season after an injury interrupted 2011-12 season.

"There is a possibility that the final XI could include four pace bowlers. The extra bowlers have been included as back-up and in recognition of the demanding workloads shouldered by Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the first two Vodafone Tests against South Africa."

Australia named their squad just hours after the Proteas earned an unlikely draw in Adelaide.

The third Test begins on Friday at the WACA.

Australia squad for third Test against South Africa: Michael Clarke (c), Shane Watson (vc), Ed Cowan, Josh Hazlewood, Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.


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