Cricket

Australia sticks to winning formula for opening Test against New Zealand

Cameron Bancroft of Australia looks on during an Australia nets session at The Gabba on November 19, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia.

Cameron Bancroft of Australia looks on during an Australia nets session at The Gabba on November 19, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

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The only omission from the squad is spare batsman Cameron Bancroft.

Australia heavily hinted on December 3 that it will field the same XI for the opening Test against New Zealand to the one that thrashed Pakistan, with selectors keen to build a core group of players.

Tim Paine’s men have proven to be far more consistent in recent months, having retained the Ashes in England before a 2-0 series sweep against Pakistan, culminating in a thumping innings and 48-run win here on Monday.

Tough opposition

Tough opposition awaits with the arrival this month of New Zealand for three Tests — in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney — and selectors named an unchanged 13-man squad.

“As we said prior to the Pakistan series we are striving to maintain a core group of players,” said national selector Trevor Hohns.

“The performance of the team against Pakistan was very impressive across all areas.”

The only omission from the squad was spare batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was on standby but did not play against Pakistan.

That means the same batting line-up will start against New Zealand in Perth on December 12, spearheaded by David Warner who made a monumental 335 not out here, ably supported by Marnus Labuschagne who hit a second successive century.

The squad:

Tim Paine (Capt.), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, and David Warner.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 6:20:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/australia-sticks-to-winning-formula-for-opening-test-against-new-zealand/article30152364.ece

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