Perth, Dec. 21 (ANI): New South Wales left-arm quick Doug Bollinger, who claimed eight wickets in the just concluded Perth Test against the West Indies, will lead the Australian pace attack against Pakistan in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), starting on Saturday.
Bollinger, 28, will be fullfilling a boyhood dream, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The 28-year-old's performance against the West Indians won praise from Windies captain Chris Gayle, who labelled the nippy left-hand speedster the most potent of the Australian attack to feature in Perth.
Peter Siddle, who missed the WACA Test with a hamstring injury, needs only to make it through Victoria's one-day clash with NSW on Wednesday to earn a Test start in place of Bushrangers team-mate Clint McKay.
But Tasmanian quick Ben Hilfenhaus has been ruled out for a third straight Test due to ongoing issues with knee tendonitis, meaning the impressive Bollinger will be retained in the Test side, and in all likelihood take the new ball again.
Bollinger, who only earned a recall to the Test XI after Hilfenhaus first succumbed to the knee injury, has made the most of his recent opportunities, claiming 13 wickets at 19.84 in his two Tests against the West Indies.
Bollinger said he would have deserved to retain his place in the Australian side for the first Test against Pakistan even if both Hilfenhaus and Siddle were fit.
"Yeah, I think I do (deserve my spot)," Bollinger said in Perth on Monday.
"Hopefully what I do on the field - everything else will look after itself."
Bollinger said he couldn't wait to step out onto the MCG for Australia.
"(It's) the ultimate, 90,000 people, a Boxing Day Test - everyone wants to play that," he said.
"So if I get that opportunity it would be another tick off the board of things I want to do and can do in my life."
In just three Tests, Bollinger has already won over skipper Ricky Ponting.
"Since he's come back into the group, which was in India for those one-day games, he hasn't put a foot wrong," Ponting said.
"At the moment he's loving the contest, he's loving the chance to open the bowling.
Bollinger made his Test debut against South Africa in January and said being overlooked for Australia's unsuccessful Ashes campaign made him all the more hungrier at Test level.
"Obviously I was disappointed I didn't make the Ashes but I'm not going to sit around and whinge and carry on," he said. (ANI)