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Australia name first Test team today

16/11/2006 05:46:08 AM Comments (0)

Australia will announce its team for the first Ashes Test against England today.

The biggest selection posers to be finally answered are whether Queensland's Shane Watson plays as an allrounder, and which of four pacemen will be selected as the third fast bowler behind Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

NSW pair Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken, Queensland's Mitchell Johnson and South Australia's Shaun Tait are all vying for the role.

Veteran opening batsman Justin Langer is almost certain to be selected despite the brilliant form of NSW's Phil Jaques of late.

Australian chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch will announce the Test team at the MCG at 1pm (AEDT).

The first Test will be played in Brisbane, starting November 23.

England will turn its attention to the three-day cricket match against South Australia, at Adelaide Oval, which starts Friday.

That clash, a first-class match, will be the tourists' last hit-out before its Ashes defence.

Marcus Trescothick's return to England because of a recurrence of a stress-related illness virtually settles the tourists' likely line-up for the Gabba.

Trescothick's absence from the series will almost certainly mean Alastair Cook opens with Andrew Strauss, and that Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood both play as batsmen.

The biggest selection England must make now is who of left-arm spinners Ashley Giles and Monty Panesar will play Australia, and the former believed to be the favourite to get the nod.

England has named Middlesex left-hander Ed Joyce to replace Trescothick in the Test squad.

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