Australia made one change to the Test squad that hammered Pakistan on the way to a 2-0 series victory by dropping batsman Cameron Bancroft.
Bancroft didn’t get a chance to showcase his worth in the series and will now be forced to watch on from home as the Aussies battle New Zealand in a three-Test series beginning next week.
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The squad features the 11-players who helped guide the Aussies to a decisive victory against a lacklustre Pakistan outfit along with reserve quicks James Pattinson and Michael Neser.
Pattinson and Neser appear unlikely to force their way into day-night Test in Perth given the strong form of the incumbent trio of pacemen. Fast bowlers Mitchell Starc (14 wickets), Josh Halzewood (10) and Pat Cummins (eight) were were leading wicket-takers in the Pakistan series. Pattinson is available for Test selection again after being ruled out because of suspension.
“We have cut the squad from 14 to 13, we’re very comfortable of course with our batting line-up at the moment, they are functioning quite well,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns told reporters in Adelaide on Tuesday.
“So we don’t see it necessary to have a batsman as cover in the squad at the moment.
“Of course we do reserve the right to add a player if necessary throughout this series.”
The Australians won both Test matches by an innings and Hohns admitted the selection meeting for the New Zealand series was straightforward.
“It’s nice to have a couple of very very good wins, it (selection) has been quite relaxing, to be honest,” he said.
Bancroft’s omission means Travis Head, who remains joint vice-captain with Cummins, is certain to retain his spot in the batting line-up for the first Test against the Black Caps.
Bancroft has endured a nightmare run of late in the Sheffield Shield, being dismissed by fast bowlers in a similar manner five of his past six innings.
No batsman was included as a replacement for the dropped Bancroft despite Ricky Ponting pushing for talented youngster Cameron Green to earn a spot in the squad.
“Cameron Green is probably the in-form batsman in the country,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“It’d be a pretty left-field decision to make because he’s been batting so low for WA. But he’s not doing much wrong, he’s an exciting talent, and maybe to just include him and have him around the squad and give him a taste of what it’s like might not be a bad thing.”
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
The series against New Zealand gets underway with a day-night Test on December 12 in Perth before a 10-day break ahead of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The series wraps up with the final Test beginning on January 3 in Sydney.
— with AAP