Australia pick young pacemen for SA Tests

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Young paceman Jhye Richardson and left-arm spinner Jon Holland were the surprise inclusions in Australia’s squad for the four-match Test series against South Africa that starts on 1 March.

The 21-year-old Richardson has only played five first-class for Western Australia but has already had a taste of international cricket with one ODI and two T20I appearances.

There was no place in the 15-man squad for South Australia seamer Chadd Sayers, who was 12th man for the second Ashes Test against England.

Holland was selected as the back-up slow-bowler to Nathan Lyon and will allow the Aussies to practice against left-arm spin in the anticipation that they will come up against Proteas tweaker Keshav Maharaj.

Victoria spinner Holland was the second leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and has already played two Tests for the Aussies, against Sri Lanka in August 2016.

Australia chief selector Trevor Hohns said: “Jhye is a talented right-armer that bowls with very good pace through the air.

“He impressed in his first ODI and has bowled well in the Sheffield Shield this season. He is an exciting young prospect who will benefit immensely from his time with this squad.

“Jon was the second-leading wicket-taker in the Sheffield Shield last season and has performed well in the games he has played for Victoria this season.

“We envisage the wickets we will see in South Africa will not warrant the need to play two spinners.

“Therefore, should Nathan not be able to play at any stage, we wanted to have the best specialist spinner available to us and based on current red-ball form Jon warrants that spot.”

Batsmen Cameron Bancroft and Peter Handscomb have been retained in the squad for the series in South Africa despite underwhelming performances in the Ashes but there is no place for Glenn Maxwell.

Cricket Australia said all members of the Test squad will head to South Africa on February 15, with the exception of  David Warner, who will captain the Australian T20I side in a tri-series involving England and New Zealand .

Hohns added: “The South African series is a very important one and we have made no secret of our desire to improve our record away from home.

“As such, we wanted to ensure the players had the best possible preparation and that means playing the tour match prior to the first Test.”

Australia Test squad to tour South Africa: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Jackson Bird, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc

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