Sydney: Veteran seamer Peter Siddle will return to bolster an Australian side keen to halt a losing streak in the first Test against South Africa starting Thursday.
Captain Steve Smith confirmed Wednesday his XI for the home season opener at the WACA in Perth, with Siddle preferred to the uncapped Joe Mennie.
Australia went down 3-0 in Sri Lanka in July-August to forfeit their top Test ranking, and then suffered a 5-0 thrashing in a one-day series in South Africa.
Siddle, who has been recovering from a back injury sustained in New Zealand nearly nine months ago, will be the third seamer, replacing left-arm spinner Jon Holland.
Batsman Usman Khawaja, dropped after a loss of form in Sri Lanka, replaces all-rounder Moises Henriques from the team that sank in the final Test in Sri Lanka.
Smith praised the 31-year-old Siddle’s 61-Test experience after Australia opted against gambling on Mennie, a surprise inclusion in the squad.
“They’re the kind of bowlers that can really tie up an end… who can hit consistent areas and build good pressure and keep runs down,” Smith told Cricket Australia’s website.
“We’ve gone with Sidds for this Test and it’s good to have him back as well after a fair injury lay-off.”
Siddle joins the pace attack spearheaded by Mitchell Starc, also recovering from a badly gashed leg, and Josh Hazlewood.
South Africa were not due to announce their team until early on Thursday.
Australia: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Joe Mennie (12th man).