Australia v West Indies Tests
Khawaja, O'Keefe back in Test squads
Happy headaches looming for selection panel after adding names for MCG and SCG Tests
12 December 2015, 03:14 PM AEST
Australia have named a 13-man squad for the Boxing Day Test with injured batsman Usman Khawaja returning to the playing group.
NSW Blues left-arm orthodox spinner Stephen O'Keefe will join the team in Sydney as part of a 14-man squad for the New Year's Test at the SCG.
Steve O'Keefe is in the mix for the Sydney Test // Getty Images
Khawaja will have two matches for Sydney Thunder in the KFC Big Bash League in the lead-up to Boxing Day to push his case for a recall after his replacement, Shaun Marsh, made 182 in the comprehensive first Test win against the West Indies in Hobart.
The Queensland captain struck back-to-back centuries in the first two Tests of the summer against New Zealand before sustaining a hamstring injury on day two in Perth.
"Usman will come into the 13 for the Melbourne Test match subject to fitness. That's the big one for us," Bupa Support Staff Head Coach Darren Lehmann told cricket.com.au's Stumps show.
"Then (Stephen) O'Keefe will come into Sydney as well. So we'll have 13 and 14 for the next two Test matches and then with that we've got to make some decisions.
"Usman's first got to be fit. If he's not fit he won't play, there's no doubt about that.
"We've got to make sure he's playing BBL to get some sort of match fitness and see how the strain of the hamstring is and then when we get him in on the 23rd (December) we'll have a look at him and see whether he's available to play.
"We've got a dilemma. We've just got to pick the best team to win that particular game. If Usman is in then someone's got to miss out. If he's not in, then probably the same six (batsmen)."
Quick Single: First Test, day three extended highlights
Australia captain Steve Smith, who was expected to play against Khawaja for Sydney Sixers in the opening match of BBL|05 in five days' time, will miss the match with an aggravated right knee and a minor strain to his right hip flexor and instead rest ahead of the annual Boxing Day clash.
"I'm experiencing a little bit of knee pain that I experienced before the first Test in Brisbane," Smith said after play today.
"I landed on it yesterday and it sort of aggravated it a little bit, as well as a little bit of hip flexor soreness in my right leg as well.
"So I'm going to sit out the first two Big Bash games (for the Sixers) unfortunately."
Smith was certain he'd fit for the Boxing Day.
"(I'm in) no doubt," Smith added.
"I think it's just precautionary.
"I don't think I'll be able to go at 100 per cent, which is what you need to do in T20 cricket and I don't want to do any further damage."
Nathan Coulter-Nile, 12th man for the Hobart Test, will play for Perth Scorchers on Monday December 21 at The Furnace, while Mitchell Marsh's involvement for the reigning BBL champions is still to be confirmed.
After being thrashed by an innings and 212 runs, the news got worse for the West Indies, with Shannon Gabriel's ankle issue severe enough for him to be ruled out for the remainder of the tour.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe (Sydney only), James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Adam Voges.