Australia are enjoying an unbeaten run in their ongoing home season thus far. They won six consecutive T20Is beating Sri Lanka and Pakistan and then easily defeated the latter in the two-match Test series which concluded on Monday. Next challenge for Tim Paine and his men is tougher with New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, set to visit Down Under for the three-match Test series. After the highs of Pakistan series, the selectors have opted to retain 13 of the 14-member squad with Cameron Bancroft being left out.
Joe Burns made full use of his opportunity scoring 97 runs in the first Test against Pakistan opening the innings. Though he failed in the day-night game in Adelaide, Burns deserves another chance which has led to Bancroft not getting a place in the squad. However, he will stay with the team for the first Test in Perth as a reserve opener.
The same is with James Pattinson and Michael Neser who warmed the bench. The latter though will play for Queensland against the New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield before joining the team.
We are striving to maintain a core group of players, says Australia selector
Australia’s chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns was impressed with the team’s performance against Pakistan and hoped that the batsmen continue their job against New Zealand as well. He also cleared that the hosts can add a player any time during the series depending on the circumstances and conditions.
“As we said prior to the Pakistan series we are striving to maintain a core group of players. The performance of the team against Pakistan was very impressive across all areas, while there is always some room to improve. We are backing the current batting line-up to continue their form across the next three Tests.
Whilst not a part of this squad, Cameron Bancroft remains one of the standby players. Similarly, depending on conditions, we reserve the right to add a player to the squad at any time during the series,” he was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. The Test series between Australia and New Zealand will commence on December 12 in Perth with the opening game set to be played under lights.
The second and third Test will be traditional Boxing Day and New Year Tests to be played at the historic MCG and SCG respectively.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (C), Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins (VC), Josh Hazelwood, Travis Head (VC), Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson.
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