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    Spinner Beer in Aus squad for Perth Test

    Perth: Spin bowler Michael Beer was a surprise choice as Australian selectors cut Marcus North, Doug Bollinger and Xavier Doherty for the third Ashes Test against England.

    Beer, allrounder Steve Smith and opener Phil Hughes were named on Friday in a 12-man squad for the Perth test starting December 16. England leads the five-test series 1-0 after an innings win in Adelaide and a draw in Brisbane.

    Pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus, who both missed selection in Australia's XI for Adelaide, have also been included.

    Hughes was added in place of opening batsman Simon Katich, who will miss the rest of the Ashes series with a torn Achilles tendon.

    Beer has taken just 16 first-class wickets at an average of 39.93 since making his Western Australia state debut two months ago.

    "This is obviously disappointing for Marcus, who has played some outstanding Test innings for Australia," national selection panel chairman Andrew Hilditch said in a statement. "But it was felt to be the right time to bring the exciting prospect Steve Smith into the Test team.

    Hilditch said Beer's knowledge of the WACA ground secured his inclusion.

    "Michael is a left-arm orthodox spinner who has been very impressive at domestic level this year," he said. "He took wickets against England in the tour match earlier this summer and we expect he will bowl very well against the English on his home ground."

    Bollinger's omission leaves Australia with a fast bowling quartet of Harris, Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle to choose from.

    "Both Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus did not play in Adelaide but will be strongly considered for selection in the Perth Test match where conditions will suit them," Hilditch said.


    Australia squad: Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke (vice captain), Shane Watson, Phil Hughes, Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin, Michael Beer, Ryan Harris, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus.