Hilfenhaus in three-way battle for first Test
BEN Hilfenhaus, Australia's outstanding bowler against India last summer, on Thursday begins a three-way tussle with Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon for two places in the attack for next week's first Test against South Africa in Brisbane.
The robust Tasmanian will bowl his first red ball in a match since April in the Sheffield Shield game against South Australia, starting in Hobart on Thursday, having puffed away some cobwebs while returning modest figures of 1-73 from 13 overs in Tuesday's one-dayer against the Redbacks.
Australia's bowling coach Ali de Winter is confident Hilfenhaus can overcome a disjointed preparation, caused by Champions League commitments with Chennai, to be somewhere near his best by the time the selectors choose the first-Test attack to face the Proteas.
De Winter, who helped restore Hilfenhaus' pace and swing before his renaissance last summer, said Peter Siddle and James Pattinson enjoyed a considerable advantage in their Test preparations from stringing shield games together, while Hilfenhaus and Starc bowled in short bursts at the Champions League.
The latter two have subsisted on the short formats since August, although Starc has done more competitive bowling than Hilfenhaus in that time.
Read more at Brisbane Times