Uncapped Tasmanian Alex Doolan joins Shaun Marsh who returns to the Test scene after almost two years. (Getty Images)
Perth: After a stunning Ashes triumph, Australia added specialist batsmen to a 15-man squad unveiled on Monday for the upcoming tour against world number one South Africa.
Uncapped Tasmanian Alex Doolan joins Shaun Marsh who returns to the Test scene after almost two years.
Losing out is Ashes number six George Bailey whose game is "less suited to their [bowling] attack," said chairman of selectors John Inverarity.
"This was a difficult decision, but on this occasion we felt Alex and Shaun have games that are well suited to facing South Africa in South Africa. We consider that both are strong players of pace bowling which is important given the strength of South Africa's attack. Alex was on standby for the recent fifth Test in Sydney and scored a most impressive 165 not out against South Africa for Australia A last season. Shaun is a talented batsman who is striking the ball very well at the moment. He has the technique and potential to do well."
Doolan came in for particular praise for his technique against pace bowling. Marsh meanwhile scored a century on his Test debut, but has struggled with injury and form.
"He seems to be in a very good space mentally and fit," Inverarity said. "He's playing well and we all know that when Shaun plays his best he's a very good player."
Marsh built a patient innings of 71 on Sunday night to help Australia wrap up the one-day series against England with two games still to play.
Other changes see the return from long-term injury of pace bowlers James Pattinson and Jackson Bird.
Australia's first choice bowling line-up remains the same from the Ashes, with strength in depth to cover the back-to-back Test schedule.
"James Pattinson is regaining fitness and form. At his best he is a fine Test match bowler," Inverarity said. Jackson Bird shaded out Nathan Coulter-Nile for the final bowling position and each of these bowlers is showing encouraging form."
The squad departs January 29, apart from all-rounder James Faulkner who stays back to play in the T20 series against England. He will join the team during the warm-up game in Potchefstroom (February 5-8).
Australia squad: Michael Clarke (Capt), Brad Haddin (vice-Capt.), Jackson Bird, Alex Doolan, James Faulkner, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Marsh, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Chris Rogers, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson.
Schedule: Feb 12-16 1st Test at SuperSport Park, Centurion Feb 20-24 2nd Test at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth Mar 1-5: 3rd and final Test at Newlands, Cape Town.