Pakistan vs Australia: Aaron Finch, Peter Siddle bolt into Australia Test squad for UAE tour
Peter Siddle and Aaron Finch are part of seven fresh faces in Australia's Test squad. @Getty

Australia’s T20I captain and ODI deputy Aaron Finch has expectedly earned his maiden call-up to the Test team, named as one of five uncapped members in a 15-man squad for the upcoming tour of UAE to face Pakistan.

Victoria pace bowler Peter Siddle has also been recalled, just weeks after he took his 500th first-class wicket while playing for Essex during a county season in which he collected 37 wickets in seven games at 16 apiece. The 33-year-old last played a Test for Australia in November 26.

With Steve Smith and David Warner serving 12-month suspensions and Cameron Bancroft out for nine months, and Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins out injured, a number of places presented themselves to potential candidates over the past few months. The ongoing Australia A tour of India was identified by new head coach Justin Langer and his fellow selectors Greg Chappell and Trevor Hohns as a platform to test bench strength and fill in slots for the Pakistan series in October, and to that end success has been rewarded.

The Queensland trio of pace bowlers Michael Neser and Brendan Doggett and batsman Marnus Labuschagne have earned their maiden Test call-ups, as has batsman Travis Head. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who played the last of his four Test matches in Bangladesh in 2017, has also been recalled from the A squad in India.

Those to be dropped from Australia’s last Test squad in South Africa are Glenn Maxwell, Joe Burns, Peter Hanscomb, Chad Sayers and Jhye Richardson.

Travis Head added to Australia's Test squad
Travis Head has played 39 ODIs and 16 T20Is. @Getty

This is the first Test call for Head, who has played 39 ODIs and 16 T20Is. He made 87 in Australia A’s win over India A in Bengaluru last week, and offers Tim Paine a handy off-spinning option. Labushagne, 24, was the second-highest run-getter in the previous Sheffield Shield season, and in the first four-day game in Bengaluru made 60 and 37. Doggett, 24, has played just eight first-class matches and took three wickets in Australia A’s win last week in India. Should he get a Test debut in the UAE, Doggett will become third indigenous Australian cricketer to do so after Faith Thomas and Jason Gillespie.

Holland, the 31-year-old left-arm spinner, has been retained after a match-winning hand in Australia A’s win over India A in Bengaluru. He had toured South Africa earlier this year but did not get a chance to add to his two Test caps.

In Cummins’ and Hazlewood’s absence, the Australian selection panel has picked Siddle, Doggett, Neser and Mitchell Marsh – who recently resumed bowling – as the pace options, with Holland and Agar backing Nathan Lyon with Australia expecting spin to play a big role in the UAE.

Finch, 31, has scored 4957 runs for Australia in limited-overs cricket without earning a Baggy Green, which stands as the record for most international runs scored without playing Test cricket.

His first-class form for Victoria over the last three domestic seasons has been decent – 1278 runs in 19 matches for an average of 41.22 – but it is his excellent run in white-ball cricket for Australia in 2018 that has helped push break into the Test squad. In 17 international matches this year, Finch has scored 900 runs at an average of 69.23 and strike-rate of 132.15. In ODIs this year he has hit three centuries, while in T20Is he has a world record 172 and two fifties.

Playing T20s for Surrey in England, Finch has slammed 589 runs in nine innings at a strike-rate of 182.35, with two centuries and three fifties in the Vitality Blast, the most by any batsman. He has not featured as regularly for the County Championship Division One runaway leaders in as many first-class matches, with 77 runs in two games with a best of 43, but his endorsement as a Test cricketer has come from high places.

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine, Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matt Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc