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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 06:30 GMT
Australia call up young pace duo
Mitchell Johnson
Johnson impressed during the ICC Champions Trophy
Australia have bolstered their ageing side with two young fast bowlers for the first Test against England.

Shaun Tait and uncapped left-armer Mitchell Johnson have been named in a 13-man squad for the game in Brisbane, starting on 23 November.

Stuart Clark will rival them for one place in support of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and spinner Shane Warne.

All-rounder Shane Watson has been preferred to Andrew Symonds while Damien Martyn keeps Michael Clarke out.

"We believe this is a squad capable of winning back the Ashes," said chief selector Andrew Hilditch.

"We've picked a very strong squad which reflects the fact that Australia has been successful at international level for some time.

"We are showing faith in those players who have contributed to that success, while at the same time injecting some youth into the squad with the inclusion of Watson, Johnson and Tait."

Johnson has impressed playing for Australia's one-day side and troubled England's batsmen in the recent Champions Trophy in India.

Tait, who made his debut during the last Ashes tour, is now combining his raw pace with accuracy and in-swing and took 3-21 for a Prime Minister's XI against England last week.

Historically what you want in any team is a good mix of youth and experience and I think we've certainly got that

Ricky Ponting

Seamer Clark, 31, would be the safer option, having collected 20 wickets in a series in South Africa earlier this year, while McGrath took time off to be with his ill wife.

The choice of Watson, meanwhile, represents something of a gamble, but Hilditch said: "Shane has an outstanding first-class record with the bat, averaging over 45 and his bowling ability gives us the flexibility in our attack that we have been looking for.

"It will be interesting to see how he develops as a Test cricketer in this series."

The selectors have kept faith with the tried and trusted opening partnership of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer despite the recent prolific form of Phil Jaques.

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting said that he hoped the players could now relax a little bit after months of anticipation.

He added: "I think historically what you want in any team is a good mix of youth and experience and I think we've certainly got that."

"This series is going to be huge. We've all been waiting for it for 14-15 months and players are really excited about getting to Brisbane and getting our preparation under way."

Australia squad: R Ponting (captain), M Hayden, J Langer, D Martyn, M Hussey, S Watson, A Gilchrist (wkt), S Warne, B Lee, G McGrath, S Clark, M Johnson, S Tait.





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