31 Dec 2008

Lee, Symonds and Watson all sidelined

7:07 am on 31 December 2008

The Australian cricket selectors have called in an uncapped trio to replace their injured and ageing bowlers for the third Test against South Africa at the SCG, after losing the second Test and the series in Melbourne.

NSW fast bowler Doug Bollinger, Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus and all-rounder Andrew McDonald replace Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds and Shane Watson.

Lee's out for up to two months as he undergoes surgery on his left ankle, while Watson will be out for at least six weeks because of a stress fracture in his back, and is unlikely to bowl for six months.

Symonds could be out for at least a month, and Australia's search for a fit, in-form allrounder has got to the point where players are being called up to Test matches from surf holidays.

McDonald was stunned to get a telephone call while on holiday on Victoria's surf coast.

The injury blows came as Australia lost their first series at home since 1992-93, after South Africa won the second Test at the MCG, by nine wickets.