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|December 21, 1999||
Brett Lee in 12 for second TestDaniel Laidlaw
Two significant but predictable inclusions mark the Australian team announced for the second Test on Tuesday: Mark Waugh and Brett Lee. Waugh, enduring a form slump, has been backed by the selectors to regain his touch while the selection of Lee, at the expense of luckless Colin Miller, is the only change to the Australian XII which won the first Test in Adelaide by 285 runs.
Since the first Test of the summer when Waugh made 100 against Pakistan, he has had scores of 5, 0, 0, 5, and 8. From the start of the West Indies tour this year after the last Australian season, Waugh has made just 439 runs at 23.10 in 12 Tests. His selection for the second Test in Melbourne, however, was expected as the 34-year-old Waugh had received public support from twin brother and Australian captain Steve Waugh as well as national selector Geoff Marsh. It is felt that there is no need to change a team that has won its past 5 Tests and with no other batsman demanding to be selected, dropping a player of Waugh’s prowess would have caused an unwanted disturbance to the team.
Waugh, a proven match-winner and one of Australia’s most senior players, is also assured of playing the third Test on his home ground in Sydney immediately following the Boxing Day match, an occasion which will mark his 100th Test. But if he fails to make runs in the remaining two Tests, his future beyond that is uncertain.
Young Queensland batsman Andrew Symonds, who has made two centuries against India on this tour, shapes as the most likely challenger for Waugh’s spot. West Australian Simon Katich had been groomed as the next batsman to make his debut, but has been struck down by a virus.
Brett Lee, who was 12th man for the third Test against Pakistan, took 8 wickets for New South Wales against Western Australia in Perth at the weekend and must be rated an excellent chance to make his debut in Melbourne on Sunday. However, he is competing with Michael Kasprowicz, who went wicketless in Adelaide, for the final place in the XI and a decision is unlikely be made on who will play until the morning of the match.
Lee is known to be preferred by Steve Waugh but the reports are selectors want to avoid repeated changes to the third seamer’s spot and this could work in favour of the incumbent, Kasprowicz. Lee has already rattled India on this tour by taking 11 wickets against them, seven for NSW and four for the Prime Minister’s XI.
The Australian team for the second Test: Steve Waugh (c), Shane Warne (v-c), Michael Slater, Greg Blewett, Justin Langer, Mark Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Kasprowicz, Damien Fleming, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee.
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