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Ashes: Australia name squad for first Test

First Ashes Test, Brisbane
Dates: 25-29 November Start time: 0000 GMT Coverage: Listen live to Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and online (UK only). Watch live on Sky Sports 1, highlights on ITV 4

Excited Ponting anticipates Ashes

Nathan Hauritz was a surprise omission as Australia named their 13-man squad ahead of the first Ashes Test.

The off-spinner had been Australia's main slow bowling option for the past two years but struggled on the recent tour of India.

In Hauritz's absence, left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty is set make his debut.

The other players cut from an initial 17-man party were bowler Ryan Harris and middle-order batsmen Callum Ferguson and Usman Khawaja.

Harris' omission was expected as he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery but the discarding of Hauritz will raise eyebrows.

The 29-year-old has been his country's first-choice spinner for the last two years although his 63 wickets at almost 35 runs apiece have failed to fill the void left by legendary leg-spinner Shane Warne's retirement.

Hauritz was only given one over to impress by state captain Simon Katich during the entire recent Sheffield Shield match against Tasmania, and failed to take a wicket.

However, Warne used social media site Twitter to suggest that the Queenslander had still been harshly treated.

"Re Test squad I think it's very very harsh on Hauritz, he deserved first crack at Poms," he tweeted, before adding: "Nothing against X [Doherty] or Smith I wish them luck."

Doherty, who will turn 28 ahead of the start of the first Test in Brisbane on Thursday, has only taken three five-wicket hauls in first-class cricket and has a bowling average of 48.

However, he did take 2-45 in New South Wales' second innings earlier in the week, including the scalp of Test team-mate Simon Katich.

But while he admitted Hauritz was unlucky to miss out, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch praised his likely replacement, saying: "The panel believes the left-arm orthodox variety Xavier Doherty provides against a predominantly right-handed English middle-order is the better option in this game."

Leg-spinner Steve Smith is retained, though his figures of 2-118 for Australia A in their loss to England did little to push his case for inclusion.

Katich, who damaged his shoulder in a warm-up game, is included and should be fit to resume his opening partnership with Shane Watson, who starred with the ball with 5-39 for state side New South Wales against Tasmania.

Captain Ricky Ponting only made 27 in the same match while vice captain Michael Clarke should also play despite recent concerns over the recurrence of a back injury.

Mitchell Johnson served up a warning to the England batsmen, meanwhile, with six wickets for Western Australia against Victoria, while Mike Hussey's superb 118 in the same game well and truly secured his spot in the middle order - not that he was expected to miss out in any case.

England, who won the last series at home in 2009, have named a 16-man touring party this time.

Australia Test squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice-captain), Doug Bollinger, Xavier Doherty, Brad Haddin, Mike Hussey, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Shane Watson

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Katich in shoulder injury scare
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