Australia turn to Beer
Steven Smith appears certain to make his Ashes debut in the third Test at Perth, while uncapped spinner Michael Beer has also been drafted into a much-changed 12-man squad.
Leg-spinning all-rounder Smith, 21, has been selected to replace out-of-form batsman Marcus North, who has managed just 49 runs in the series so far.
Yet while Smith’s call-up had been anticipated by many, the inclusion of Western Australia slow left-armer Beer, a player with just five first-class matches to his name, comes as a major surprise.
The 26-year-old returned match figures of 5-207 for WA in their recent fixture against England and has beaten off competition from the likes of Nathan Hauritz and Steven O’Keefe to earn a place in the squad.
However, it remains to be seen whether he will feature at the WACA as Australia contemplate a four-man pace attack, supplemented by the leg-spin of Smith.
Xavier Doherty is the man to make way for Beer, while seamer Mitchell Johnson has been recalled in place of Doug Bollinger, the man who replaced him for the Adelaide Test.
A fourth change sees Phil Hughes come in for Simon Katich at the top of the order, with the latter set to miss the rest of the series due to an Achilles injury.
Australia’s national selection panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said: “Steven Smith replaces Marcus North in the 12-man squad.
"This is obviously disappointing for Marcus who has played some outstanding Test innings for Australia but it was felt to be the right time to bring the exciting prospect Steven Smith into the Test team.
“Steven has already had success at international level and will also add to the bowling depth with his leg-spin bowling and dynamic fielding.
“Michael Beer replaces Xavier Doherty in the squad. Michael is a left-arm orthodox spinner who has been very impressive at domestic level this year.
“He took wickets against England in the tour match earlier this summer and we expect he will bowl very well against the English on his home ground.
“Doug Bollinger has been omitted from the squad. Both Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus did not play in Adelaide but will be strongly considered for selection in the Perth Test match where conditions will suit them.
“Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle were the pick of our quicks at Adelaide Oval and these four make up the pace attack for the Perth Test match.”