Young fast bowler Josh Hazlewood is set to make his long-awaited debut in a new-look Australian pace attack, which will also include recalled left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc in the second cricket Test against India starting here tomorrow.
Hazlewood and Starc will replace injured Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, who was dropped from the side that won the first Test by 48 runs in Adelaide on Saturday.
"It's very exciting, I've watched Josh very closely over the last couple of years at New South Wales and he impresses me every time. He's only getting better and better. I think this pitch will suit Josh perfectly," New skipper Steven Smith said while announcing the team on the eve of the second Test.
"He's very skilful for his age and I'm just looking forward to seeing him zing a few through and bowl with that extra bit of pace and bounce as well.
"In regards to the inclusion of Mitchell Starc, I think we just wanted to play a bowler with a bit of extra pace and bounce. Mitchell went back and bowled really well for New South Wales in the last couple of Shield games and deserves his spot," Smith said.
The 25-year-old Smith, who was anointed as the 45th Australia Test captain yesterday, will bat at number four replacing Clarke's regular position.
Shaun Marsh, who was named in place of Clarke after he was ruled out of the four-Test series following a right hamstring injury, will come into the Australian batting line-up at number five.
"I've had a chat to a couple of the senior players and the coach about it," Smith said.
"I just thought taking over the captaincy and a bit of extra responsibility that I'd step up to No.4 and get the job done there. I don't think there's a big difference between batting 4 and 5, so that's just the way I've gone with it."
It will also be an opportunity for Shaun Marsh to play alongwith his younger brother Mitchell in the Australia Test side for the first time.
In the bowling attack, Starc, who has taken 43 wickets in 13 Tests at 35.34, and Mitchell Johnson will give Australia two left-arm fast bowlers to handle the new-ball.
The 23-year-old Hazlewood, who had some strong performances in ODIs against South Africa last month, was in the squad for the Adelaide Test but was not picked. He will finally earn his first baggy green tomorrow.
A green-top awaits the two teams at the Gabba which is expected to give assistance to pacers and Smith said the lively wicket was one of the reasons behind the inclusion of Hazlewood and Starc.
"I think that's part of the reason why Mitchell Starc and John Hazlewood have been included in the team, that's for sure," he said.
"It is traditionally a fast and bouncy wicket and it looks no different for this Test match. Hopefully after the wickets we've played on recently in Test cricket, the Adelaide Oval and the two in the UAE, it's exciting for our fast bowlers to finally have something that's going to have a bit of liveliness to it."
Talking about Harris, Smith said: "Ryan Harris pulled up a little bit stiff and sore from Adelaide. He's got a slight quad strain. Darren Lehmann has always said if our bowlers aren't 100 per cent fit going into the match we won't be playing them. It's very unfortunate for Ryan but hopefully he gets his body right soon."
"I think he'll be okay in a couple of days. It's just going into a Test match if you're not 100 per cent fit that's the way it goes with this team. Hopefully he gets a bit of work done with the physios in the next couple of days and can start running and hopefully he'll be fine for Melbourne."
Regarding Siddle's omission, Smith said: "It's obviously very disappointing for Peter Siddle, who's been a terrific bowler over a long period of time. He's certainly not out of the loop. He's still in and around the team and hopefully he'll get another game soon."
Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.