Henriques, O'Keefe included for Australia


Moises Henriques and Stephen O'Keefe have been included in Australia's 15-man Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.

Henriques, 29, last featured in the five-day format in 2013 for what was his third Test.

Left-arm spinner O'Keefe is included to back up Nathan Lyon for the three-Test series, which starts on July 26.

While Mitchell Starc is also back, there was bad news for duo James Pattinson and Peter Siddle.

Pattinson has suffered a recurrence of stress fractures in his back, while Siddle is also battling a back injury.

"James experienced lower back pain during the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch and was given some time to rest," Cricket Australia physio David Beakley said.

"Unfortunately his back pain continued during this time and after further investigation it confirmed that he has had a recurrence of a back stress fracture.

"James will continue to spend the winter recovering from this injury, at which point we hope to have a clearer view of timelines for his return to play."

Australia national selector Rod Marsh believes the likes of Henriques, Jackson Bird and Nathan Coulter-Nile can star in Sri Lanka.

O'Keefe has taken seven wickets at an average of 40.28 in two Tests.

"This squad has proven experience in sub-continental conditions," Marsh said.

"Henriques comes into the squad to give the flexibility of an additional all-rounder option, having already shown he plays and adapts well to spin-friendly conditions. He has been working hard with his fitness and we believe he is in prime condition to serve us well should he be selected to play.

"Jackson Bird and Nathan Coulter-Nile join the squad and will give us good control and pace.

"Jackson had an impressive Sheffield Shield season and showed skill with reverse swing in the last Test match in New Zealand earlier this year. He's playing in England at the moment and we're confident this will build his skills to assist the squad if he is selected in Sri Lanka.

"Stephen O'Keefe will complement Nathan Lyon and plays an important role in the subcontinent if he's selected in the final XI. We know his ability, he takes wickets continually in first-class cricket and he impresses when we select him to play Test cricket."


Australia squad in full:

Jackson Bird, Joe Burns, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Adam Voges, David Warner