Maxwell replaces Watson for third Test

December 29, 2012 - 4:55:06 am

MELBOURNE: All-rounder Glenn Maxwell was drafted in to replace the injured Shane Watson in a 13-man Australian squad named yesterday for next week’s final Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney.

Maxwell, 24, gets a chance to make his Test debut after playing four one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 internationals for his country.

Watson is unavailable for the dead rubber after suffering a calf muscle injury while bowling in Australia’s innings and 201-run victory in the second Melbourne Test, which handed them the series.

Usman Khawaja remains on standby in case skipper Michael Clarke is not fully fit from a hamstring strain he picked up in the first Test win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Maxwell has scored 860 runs at 40.95 with one century and taken 25 wickets at 33.72 with his right-hand off breaks in 14 Sheffield Shield matches for Victoria since his first-class debut last season.

Selectors have the choice between Melbourne man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson, fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc, Hobart Test Man-of-the-Match Peter Siddle and newcomer Jackson Bird to share the new ball in Sydney.

“Maxwell comes into the squad as the all-rounder. So it’s a squad of 13 and we’ll wait and see what the conditions are like in Sydney,” said Clarke, one of five national selectors.

“I think the other all-rounder is Mitchell Johnson as he showed with the bat in this game.

“So we’ve got options. If we think the wicket’s going to spin we have the option of Maxwell, if we think there will be enough in there to play four fast bowlers and a spinner, we have Johnson.”

Australia squad: Michael Clarke (captain), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird. AFP