With Steve Smith and David Warner back in their Test side, Australia are on a roll in Tests this season. They started the ICC Test Champions campaign with a promising display in the Ashes in England, drawing the series 2-2 to retain the urn. It was the first time since 2001 that Australia managed to leave England with the urn.
And they did even better in their first series of the home season by dismantling Pakistan in the two-match series. The Tim Paine-led side beat Pakistan by an innings in both the Tests to continue their upward journey in the Championship points table. They will now be looking to continue the same form when they take on New Zealand in the upcoming three-match Test series at home.
New Zealand are expected to provide Australia with a tougher challenge than Pakistan. The Black Caps are arriving in Australia on the back of an impressive 1-0 series win over England. The series will start on December 12 in Perth before Melbourne and Sydney host the traditional Boxing Day and New Year Test respectively.
Australia show faith in players:
Australia have shown faith in the squad that thrashed Pakistan as they named their squad for the series against New Zealand. The only change has been the omission of spare batsman Cameron Bancroft. The right-handed batsman, however,remains on standby for the series opener.
Australia have announced a 13-player squad for the three-match series, comprising of the 11 players who swept their two Tests against Pakistan. They have also named James Pattinson and Michael Neser as the reserve fast-bowlers.
At the same time, head selector Trevor Hohns made it clear that there may be squad changes later in the series, particularly if conditions in Melbourne or Sydney call for an allrounder or a second spinner.
“We are backing the current batting line-up to continue their form across the next three Tests,” Hohns was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia.
“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 added.
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.