The West

Maxwell misses out as Aussies stick with pace
Michael Hussey prepares for his final Test match. Pic: Getty Images

Australian skipper Michael Clarke is confident his side has enough batting after picking four fast bowlers alongside spinner Nathan Lyon for the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney starting on Thursday.

Second Test debutant Jackson Bird retained his place and will form a fast bowling quartet with Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and the recalled Mitchell Starc.

With the SCG wicket containing more than a tinge of green, spinning allrounder Glenn Maxwell was denied a Test debut when named 12th man, leaving the Australians with just five specialist batsmen.

Clarke said Johnson's form with the bat, coming off an unbeaten 92 in the second Test, combined with the state of the pitch had dictated selection.

"A fair bit of grass on the wicket, the boys bowled really well in the last Test match," Clarke said.

"And bringing Mitchell Starc back into the team obviously helps our attack, especially with the form he's in.

"Mitchell Johnson's batting, he's batting as well as an allrounder now anyway.

"I'm confident we've got enough batting still with Matthew Wade at six and Mitchell Johnson at seven and we've got extra bowling which is a real positive for us."

Clarke will bat at No.4 in the absence of Watson, with Mike Hussey to push up to No.5 for his farewell to Test cricket.

Usman Khawaja is on standby for Clarke but the skipper is expected to overcome a hamstring problem and play.

"I think my hamstring's better than it was in Melbourne. If I didn't think I could perform at my best I wouldn't take the field," Clarke said.

"It certainly won't be because of my hamstring that I don't make a big score."

Maxwell, who combines his off-spin with aggressive batting, was expected to get a run in Sydney to give him some experience before his likely selection for the tour of India.

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Matt Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell (12th man).

The West Australian

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