Sport Cricket Henriques, Coulter-Nile back in Test squad
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Henriques, Coulter-Nile back in Test squad

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Injury-prone quick Nathan Coulter-Nile is set for his long-awaited Test debut on Australia’s looming tour of Sri Lanka.

Coulter-Nile is joined in the 15-man squad by fellow paceman Jackson Bird and NSW allrounder Moises Henriques, who last played Test cricket more than three years ago.

Stephen O’Keefe won the second spinning spot for the three-Test tour in July-August.

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Leading paceman Mitchell Starc, to make his international comeback from ankle surgery next month in one-dayers in the West Indies, also returns to a squad missing Peter Siddle (back) and Chadd Sayers from the most recent Test tour, of New Zealand last February.

Batsmen Shaun Marsh and Joe Burns feature and WA’s express paceman Coulter-Nile, who has been on the fringes of selection but hampered by injury, could debut at the age of 28.

Coulter-Nile will compete for a spot with Tasmanian quick Bird, who has been favoured for the forecast low and slow Lankan conditions.

“Jackson Bird and Nathan Coulter-Nile will give us good control and pace,” chairman of selectors Rod Marsh said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Jackson had an impressive Sheffield Shield season and showed skill with reverse swing in the last Test match in New Zealand earlier this year.”

NSW captain Henriques, who scored two half-centuries in his three Tests – all in India in March 2013 – was recalled as selectors sought another allrounder option alongside Mitchell Marsh.

“He plays and adapts well to spin-friendly conditions,” Rod Marsh said of Henriques.

“He has been working hard with his fitness and we believe he is in prime condition to serve us well should he be selected.”

Spinner O’Keefe is in the frame to add to his two Tests, in support of frontliner Nathan Lyon.

“(O’Keefe) plays an important role in the subcontinent … we know his ability, he takes wickets continually in first-class cricket and he impresses when we select him to play Test cricket,” Marsh said.

The three-Test series starts in Kandy on July 26.

Australia will separately name squads for the following five one-dayers and three Twenty20 games against the Lankans.

Test squad: Steve Smith (capt), David Warner (vice-capt), Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Stephen O’Keefe, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges.

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