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Cowan the latest new boy for evolving Aussies


Australia used to catch the eye because they were so good, but times have changed.

If Ed Cowan and Dan Christian make their Test debuts in the Boxing Day Test against India in Melbourne, Australia will have a fielded a whole new side in a calendar year for the first time since 1977, when Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket tore the heart out of the Australian XI.

Fourteen players won their Baggy Greens that year, but things are not quite so desperate now. It looks likely that only four of this year's new breed will take the field at the MCG, with batsman David Warner, fast bowler James Pattinson and off-spinner Nathan Lyon joining Cowan in the side. Shaun Marsh, meanwhile, who scored 141 on debut in Sri Lanka, is probably competing with the all-rounder Christian for a spot.

With regards to the tourists, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman are all probably on their last ever Test tour and would love to be part of India's first Test series win in Australia. As ever for India, the fitness of left-arm pace bowler Zaheer Khan will be vital.