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Australia turn to Coulter-Nile, Pattinson for Windies opener

Australia on Tuesday turned to James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile to replenish their diminishing fast bowling ranks for next week’s opening Test against the West Indies.

Selectors named the pace duo in a 12-man squad for the December 10-14 Hobart Test following a stress fracture foot injury to Mitchell Starc on top of the recent retirement of Mitchell Johnson.

The panel is also mulling the pressing need to give Adelaide Test man-of-the-match Josh Hazlewood some time off to refresh as Australia face a three-Test series against the West Indies and two return Tests in New Zealand in February.

Pattinson, 25, played the last of his 13 Tests against South Africa in March 2014 with his career stalled by chronic back and hamstring issues.

Coulter-Nile, 28, has been included despite not playing any domestic Sheffield Shield matches so far this summer because of a shoulder injury.

He should have bowled for Western Australia last weekend but was given a one-match ban for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision in the domestic second XI league, meaning he has not played first-class cricket since the Sheffield Shield final in March.

“We’ve had our eye on Nathan for a long time. We’ve been very pleased with the way he’s played when he has played,” selector Rod Marsh told reporters.

“But he’s been a fast bowler who hasn’t been injury-free and I guess we are at the situation now because of the two Mitchells, one injured and one retiring, that we do need a bit of pace up front, so he’s in the 12.

“Once Mitchell Starc went down everyone’s mind turned straight to Nathan Coulter-Nile.”

Senior quick Peter Siddle, who has become even more important to Australia’s plans with the pressures on the pace brigade, experienced back problems during last weekend’s day-night third Test against New Zealand in Adelaide.

As a precaution selectors have placed Scott Boland on standby in case of further injury problems heading into the Test.
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