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Faulkner retained for Test squad

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Mitchell Marsh has been declared fit for selection for Wednesday’s first Test against Pakistan but Australia have said they’ll keep fellow allrounder James Faulkner in Dubai on standby.

Marsh, who strained a hamstring on September 30, looked untroubled when bowling seven overs for 18 runs in Pakistan A’s second innings of the four-day game in Sharjah which ended on Saturday.

Marsh scored a duck and 35 in the match and the 22-year-old West Australian is in the frame for a possible Test debut on Wednesday.

Left-arm quick Faulkner was kept on in the United Arab Emirates following the one-day series as cover for Marsh for the four-day game.

Tasmania’s Faulkner also played in the tour match, claiming 0-57 from eight overs in Pakistan A’s second innings before making a duck.

Faulkner took three wickets in the one-day series and looked solid with the bat, scoring 11, 26 not out and 33.

Marsh’s performances in Sharjah with bat and ball have left the big-hitting allrounder on track to play in Dubai, but a team spokesperson said on Sunday Faulkner’s standby role would be extended beyond the four-day game to include the two-Test series.

The 24-year-old Faulkner played one Test in 2013.

Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh says if Mitchell Marsh plays it will be as a pace-bowling allrounder, not solely as a batsman.

And he says skipper Michael Clarke, who scored 10 and five in the tour match, is also over a hamstring strain dating back to August 31.

“Their fitness is fine,” Rod Marsh said.

“I can only go on what the physio says. He’s pretty happy.”

SQUADS FOR TWO-TEST SERIES STARTING IN DUBAI ON WEDNESDAY (4.30pm SA time)

Australia: Michael Clarke (capt), Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Brad Haddin, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O’Keefe, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul Haq (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Taufeeq Umar, Shan Masood, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Talha, Rahat Ali, Imran Khan, Ehsan Adil, Sarfraz Ahmed, Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah.

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