Peter Siddle will need a Christmas miracle to play in the Boxing Day Test despite being added to the squad as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood.

Coach Justin Langer revealed James Pattinson is the favourite to replace Hazlewood (hamstring) in the XI, with Michael Neser also a chance to play if Australia opt for four quicks against NZ at the MCG.

Langer has copped some criticism since first floating the idea of including Siddle in Australia’s squad a few days ago.

Test legend Shane Warne said it would be taking a step backwards, while Geoff Lawson claimed it was an example of Langer picking his favourites.

Langer did his best to take the criticism in his stride.

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