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Hughes expected to replace retiring Ponting in Oz test squad for Lanka series

Friday - Nov 30, 2012, 04:08pm (GMT+5.5)
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Sydney - Phil Hughes has been tipped as Ricky Ponting's replacement in a move that could force a major reshuffling of Australia's batting order for the Sri Lankan series, that starts in a fortnight.

Hughes, who turns 24 on Friday, is the obvious replacement given his good start to the season, News.com.au reports

The left-hander is currently the leading run scorer in the Sheffield Shield with 518 runs at 52 and recently scored his 20th first class century, and as a top order player Hughes would be expected to bat in the top three but there is currently a selection conundrum.

Captain Michael Clarke may move up to number four and David Warner drop down to number five in the batting order.

Warner and Ed Cowan are coming off centuries in the last two Tests and vice-captain Shane Watson is returning to the side at number three for the third and final Test against South Africa, in Perth.

The easy option would appear to be leaving Warner and Cowan as openers, with Hughes slotting in at number three and Watson moving down to four.

However there are concerns about Watson's running between wickets and ability to rotate the strike once the field spreads as the innings progresses.

Watson is a much better starter against pace than spin, which is highlighted by his great success at the top of the order in shorter forms of the game.

Clarke has been so prolific this year, scoring a triple century and three double centuries that he may feel its time to replace Ponting at number four, even though his record at five and six is much better.



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