Siddle called into Australia squad for second NZ test

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Pace bowler Peter Siddle has been brought into Australia’s squad in place of the injured Josh Hazlewood for the second test against New Zealand on what is expected to be a benign Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) pitch.

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Ashes 2019 - Fifth Test - England v Australia - Kia Oval, London, Britain - September 15, 2019 Australia's Peter Siddle edges a delivery Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Hazlewood suffered a low-grade hamstring tear in his second over in the opening match of the series in Perth and did not bowl again as Australia romped to a 296-run victory inside four days.

“Peter Siddle helped us retain the Ashes, he’s got over 200 test wickets, he’s a ripping person around the team,” coach Justin Langer told reporters in Perth. “For the Boxing Day test match he just seemed like the simple solution.”

The 35-year-old Siddle, who has not played a test in Australia since late 2016, was still behind James Pattinson and Michael Neser in the pecking order despite the game being played on his home ground, Langer added.

“We selected James Pattinson and Michael Neser, they both haven’t played yet,” Langer said.

“They’ll be in front of him. That’s about consistency of selection. I’d say James or Michael or both of them will definitely play that test match.”

Pattinson was unavailable for selection for the first test against Pakistan in Brisbane last month after being banned for abusing an opponent in a first-class match.

The 29-year-old is also from Victoria but has not played a test on his home ground in Melbourne since 2015 after a succession of back injuries.

Langer had told reporters after the first test victory in Perth that his side would consider going into the match that starts on Dec. 26 with four pace bowlers and offspinner Nathan Lyon because the pitch in recent years had favoured batsmen.

Pattinson, who has taken 75 wickets in 19 tests, is likely to be the third seamer alongside Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.

Neser is yet to play a test.

Squad: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Travis Head, Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford