26 Feb 2009

McGain, Hauritz to miss first Test

2:32 pm on 26 February 2009

The Australian cricketers have had their final training session at Johannesburg's Wanderers ground before their three-Test series against South Africa.

Three uncapped players have been named in the 12-man squad, with Tasmanian pace bowler Ben Hilfenhaus, New South Wales opening batsman Phil Hughes and Western Australia captain Marcus North all in line for debuts.

Australia haven't played three debutants in the same Test since Merv Hughes, Geoff Marsh and Bruce Reid helped Allan Border's side draw in Adelaide against India in December 1985.

Captain Ricky Ponting expects conditions to favour swing bowlers, which could mean Hilfenhaus will start, while the Victorian all-rounder Andrew McDonald and NSW left-armer Doug Bollinger will also face a nervous wait before the toss of the coin.

South Africa can claim the top ranking from Australia with victory in this series after winning 2-1 in Australia last month.