Australia have dropped batsmen Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja for the Boxing Day Test against India at Melbourne, but former captain Ricky Ponting retains his place in a 13-man squad. Hughes and Khawaja were omitted after the humiliating defeat by New Zealand earlier this month in Hobart.
Uncapped Tasmania opener Ed Cowan is set for a Test debut in place of the injured Shane Watson, while seamer Ben Hilfenhaus and batsman Shaun Marsh are recalled. All-rounder Dan Christian, who played three Twenty20 internationals in 2010 but has yet to feature in a Test, remains an option after he was named 12th man against the Kiwis.
Of Ponting's retention, coach Mickey Arthur said: "Ricky is still fit enough, and providing he's scoring runs, he can play a role in that Ashes series in 2013 – but the ball is in his court."
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