Boxing Day Test berth ultimate gift for Pattinson

Good position ... James Pattinson bowls in the nets at the MCG.
Good position ... James Pattinson bowls in the nets at the MCG.

James Pattinson says he feels like all his Christmases have come at once.

The Victorian fast bowler is set to play his second Boxing Day Test, and just his third Test for Australia in the past two-and-a-half years after battling ongoing back problems.

"2011 against the Indians was my first one, and my last one as well," he told reporters ahead of the clash against the West Indies. "So it's a great feeling, the lead-up to Boxing Day ... I'm really excited."

Injuries have restricted the 25-year-old to just 14 Tests since he made his debut against New Zealand at the Gabba in December 2011.

He has picked up 56 wickets at an average of 26.35, the best haul of 5-27 coming in the first Test against the West Indies in Hobart earlier this month.

That was first appearance in the baggy Green since playing against South Africa in Cape Town in March 2014.

He spent much of the time in between tweaking his action to try to avoid a repeat of the back issues that have plagued his career.

After going wicketless in the first innings, he grabbed his career-best figures in the second innings, saying later that he had gone back to his old action in a bid to generate more pace.

But after some more video analysis, he said he realised that hadn't been the case.

"I've looked at some footage and I didn't change anything," he said.

"I'm getting back to feeling really comfortable, like I used to bowl. I'm somewhere in between bowling really side on and front on, so I think I'm in a pretty good position."

With Pattinson back taking wickets, and Josh Hazlewood leading the pace attack superbly, the situation is not as dire as some commentators had predicted after the retirements of Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson, and the injury to Mitchell Starc in the second Test against New Zealand in Perth last month.

With squad member Nathan Coulter-Nile also picking up an injury playing for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League earlier this week, Victorian Scott Boland has been added to the Aussie squad.

Incumbent paceman Peter Siddle has the inside running to play against the West Indies, but after taking just two wickets in Hobart, selectors will be tempted by Boland's extra pace and movement off the deck.

The other issue for selectors is who to leave out for returning batsman Usman Khawaja.

Either Joe Burns or Shaun Marsh will be the unlucky player, with Marsh more likely to be the one to go given Australia's 'last-in, first-out' policy.



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