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McGrath out of first two Tests

Sydney: Australia look set to go into next month’s first Test against India with an under-strength pace attack after pace spearhead Glenn McGrath Monday said that he is struggling to regain full fitness.

McGrath said he will miss the opening two Tests against Sourav Ganguly’s team and was aiming to return in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after ankle surgery.

Fellow speedster Brett Lee also remains in doubt with abdominal and ankle problems and is unlikely to be selected for the opening Test at the Gabba, starting December 4.

Both were assessed by team physiotherapist Errol Allcott over the weekend with neither given a clean bill of health.

McGrath, who last played in August against Bangladesh, is targeting Saturday’s NSW one-day match against Tasmania in Hobart as his comeback but doubted he could back-up for five-day cricket.

“I think it’s a little bit early for the first two Tests but I would love to be playing them,” McGrath said.

The Australian selectors will choose a 12-man squad for the first Test on Tuesday. Allrounder Simon Katich, who starred with the ball in the second Test against Zimbabwe, should retain injured Darren Lehmann’s place in the batting order at No. 6 over Queensland’s Martin Love.

Lehmann has been ruled out of first-class cricket until early next year with his Achilles Tendon injury.

The selectors are also likely to retain Brad Williams and left-armer Nathan Bracken, if Lee is ruled out.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said opener Matthew Hayden was not in doubt despite being ordered to rest a niggling foot injury. (AFP)

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