Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) Saturday opted to rest pace trio Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood for the upcoming Sheffield Shield round matches, keeping in mind the upcoming Test series against India.
The move gave rise to the possibility that the three men have been earmarked to form Australia's fast bowling attack for the first Test at the Gabba.
Hazlewood, fresh off nine wickets at an average of 14.66 runs per wicket in the One-Day International series against South Africa, would become Australia’s 440th Test cricketer if he’s selected for the first Test against India, starting Dec 4 in Brisbane.
Johnson is a certainty for the first Test after an outstanding year that has seen him claim the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Player of the Year award.
Siddle’s case to retain his spot in the Test XI got strengthened following his seven wickets for his team Bushrangers in the last round of Shield matches, including a second innings haul of 5-31.
Veteran pacer Ryan Harris is the other fast bowler in contention for a spot.
Nathan Coulter-Nile has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, joining injured captain Michael Clarke on the sidelines.