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Cricket | International

Usman Khawaja © Gallo Images

Khawaja on standby for injured Clarke



Usman Khawaja was put on standby for injured Australian captain Michael Clarke in a 12-man squad named on Tuesday for the second test against Sri Lanka starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.

Uncapped Tasmania paceman Jackson Bird was another newcomer in the squad, after Ben Hilfenhaus was omitted due to injury.

Clarke, who strained his right hamstring in Australia's 137-run win over the Sri Lankans in the first Hobart test which finished on Tuesday, said he was confident he would be fit for Melbourne.

"It's not too bad. I've got a bit of time now between now and Boxing Day and I'll be having a lot of treatment but I'm confident I'll be fit for Boxing Day," he said.

"I'm always going to positive. I'm really confident with eight days turnaround, if I do everything in my power and things go my way, I'll be right."

Pakistan-born Khawaja, 26, played the last of his six tests against New Zealand in Hobart a year ago and may get another test chance after strong form for Queensland in domestic cricket.

He has scored 438 runs at 39.82 in the domestic Sheffield Shield this season.

Hilfenhaus was ruled out of the next test with a side strain after breaking down during Sri Lanka's first innings in the first test.

Bird, 26, has taken 40 wickets in 14 games for Tasmania. He will vie for the third pace bowler's spot with left-armer Mitchell Johnson, who was left out of the starting eleven for Hobart.

AUSTRALIA: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson, Jackson Bird (Usman Khawaja on standby for Clarke).

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