Hilfenhaus plays, Christian doesn’t

Australia have announced their XI for the Boxing Day Test. There’s nothing too surprising in the selection, the XI is Warner, Cowan, Marsh, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Lyon, Hilfenhaus. I am not convinced the selection of Hilfenhaus was wise, Starc didn’t bowl particularly impressive against the Kiwis, but nor did Hilfenhaus look even competent against England. I don’t think two Tests is really enough to write off Starc, but Hilfenhaus has had plenty of chances. It does look like it might be a ‘six down is all out’ sort of XI, so it’s quite good that they resisted the temptation to play Christian as an all-rounder in place of Shaun Marsh. As well as Warner did against New Zealand and as well as Cowan has done, they are still largely untried at this level. With Hussey and Ponting still looking terminally out of form, only marsh and Clarke inspire any sort of confidence. (And Clarke has been quite mercurial recently.)

The announcement of the XI, whilst not surprising, also made me wonder again why Australia usually announce their starting XI so early. In recent times England have named their XI at the toss. This seems like the best course of action, even when the XI names itself, to wait to see the state of the pitch and any late fitness concerns.

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