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Hayden retained for Sydney Test

December 30, 2008 14:16 IST

Australia retained off-colour Matthew Hayden and replaced the injured trio of Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson with three uncapped players for the third and final Test against South Africa.

Having already conceded the three-match series to Graeme Smith's men, the selectors on Tuesday drafted in three uncapped players -- pacemen Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus and all-rounder Andrew McDonald -- in the 12-man squad.

The change in the squad was forced by injuries to Lee, Symonds and Watson.

South Africa have already sealed the series with a crushing nine-wicket win in the second Test in Melbourne on Tuesday and will now aim for a whitewash which will also help them dethrone the Aussies as number one Test team.

National Selection Panel (NSP) chairman Andrew Hilditch said all the new faces in the squad earned their place by virtue of their impressive show in the domestic cricket.

"The National Selection Panel has introduced Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus to the squad. Both are having exceptional Sheffield Shield seasons and their ability to move the ball will add depth to the bowling attack, albeit that they have big shoes to fill in those of Brett Lee.

"Andrew McDonald has been a very consistent all-rounder for Victoria for several seasons. He is in very good form and as well as batting in the top six will give us the flexibility we need with our bowling attack," Hilditch said.

Hilditch was effusive in his praise for the Proteas.

"While we are obviously disappointed to lose the series to South Africa , the reality is we have got ourselves in very good positions to win both Test matches. It must be said that South Africa has played extremely good cricket and is a very strong side," he said.

The 27-year-old McDonald has featured in 42 shield games, with a batting average of 39 and has also taken 93 wickets at an average of 20.

He had an impressive season as he scored 324 runs at an average of 46.28 and took 15 wickets at 23.93 in six matches for the table-toppers Bushrangers.

Bollinger, who opens the bowling for New South Wales, took six wickets in the last match against South Australia to bowl his side to victory and has claimed 14 wickets in total at 22.14 while Tasmanian Hilfenhaus has taken 24 wickets at 18.66.

Squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Matthew Hayden, Simon Katich, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Andrew McDonald, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Doug Bollinger, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus.

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