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Hughes wins race to be Ponting replacement
Hughes wins race to be Ponting replacement

Phil Hughes has been recalled to the Australian Test team as the replacement for retired veteran Ricky Ponting.

Hughes beat off challenges from Usman Khawaja and Alex Doolan to be added to the Australian team for the opening match in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka, starting in Hobart tomorrow week.

Originally from New South Wales, Hughes played 17 Tests, the most recent 12 months ago when it seemed his Test career had stalled.

However, a move to South Australia this season has prompted a return to form for the left-hander, who is expected to bat at No.3 in the Australian top-order.

Hughes has scored 524 first-class runs at an averaged of 47.63. He believed a tweak of his technique over the past six months has corrected the faults that forced him out of the national team.

The Australian team has also left out John Hastings after he developed back soreness while bowling in his Test debut against South Africa at the WACA Ground.

Pacemen Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus return to the squad after they were rested for the Perth match.

Test squad: David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Michael Hussey, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Ben Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon.

Commenting on the squad, national selector John Inverarity said: “Phillip Hughes has been selected to fill the vacancy created by Ricky Ponting’s retirement.

"Hughes, Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney and Alex Doolan were the four batsmen to come under consideration to bat high in the order.

"Phillip is an improved player and his recent and overall career statistics present a compelling case.

"The NSP holds the view that he, having just turned 24, is a very significant part of the future. He has received this call-up, his third, as it was considered to be the right time and circumstances for him to re-establish himself.

"Michael Clarke will give careful consideration to his batting order during the next few days. He has a number of options open to him and Hughes at three is one of these."

"The four pace bowlers in the squad are Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. John Hastings and Josh Hazlewood, not being able to be declared fit to perform at the time of selection, were not considered."