Australia have embarked on a quest to unearth new champions by punting

on four uncapped cricketers for the three-Test series in Sri Lanka,

selection chairman Andrew Hilditch says.

Raw offspinner Nathan

Lyon was named after just four first-class matches, with batsman Shaun

Marsh and novice pace duo Trent Copeland and James Pattinson also in

Australia’s 15-man squad announced on Tuesday.

Young allrounder Steve Smith and seasoned fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Ben Hilfenhaus were overlooked.


Australian offspinner Lyon, who only made his debut in state colours in

January, was chosen alongside one-Test left-arm tweaker Michael Beer.

Hilditch said 23-year-old Lyon was a “surprise selection”.

“I think he nearly needed a heart starter when I told him,” Hilditch told reporters in Adelaide.

“In an ideal world you would have wanted him to play more (Sheffield) Shield cricket, there is no question about that.

“But that is not where we’re at at the moment, we’re looking for our best spinners.”

Lyon, who has taken 12 wickets in his four first-class games, was shocked when Hilditch rang him on Tuesday morning.

“I looked down at the phone and saw Andrew’s name pop up and thought `geez, what is going on here’,” Lyon said.

“I’m stoked to get the news … it is unreal.”

Hilditch denied the squad was a deliberate major rebuild following last summer’s crushing Ashes loss to England.

“It’s not something we are just picking young players because that is the way we want to go,” he said.

“We’re picking the best team for Australia.


we need some experienced players, which we think we have got, and we

also need to find a couple of new champions in the next couple of


NSW paceman Copeland, at age 25, was picked on the

strength of 87 wickets from his 17 first-class matches while Victorian

21-year-old Pattinson has played only eight first-class games.

Hilditch said the callow duo would release pace spearheads Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle into more attacking roles.


really thought long and hard about trying to make sure we got an attack

which could maintain pressure as well as strike bowlers, and trying to

get an opportunity for people like Mitch Johnson and Siddle to be more

strike bowlers as opposed to bowling a lot of overs,” he said.

The Test series opens in Galle from August 31 with following Tests in Kandy from September 8 and Colombo from September 16.


will be Michael Clarke’s first Test series as full-time captain, with

two Twenty20 matches on August 6 and August 8 opening the tour before

five one-day internationals preceding the Test matches.


squad: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson (vice-capt), Michael Beer,

Trent Copeland, Brad Haddin, Ryan Harris, Phillip Hughes, Michael

Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, James

Pattinson, Ricky Ponting, Peter Siddle.