Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft picked in Australia Test squad for Pakistan series

Sport360 staff 11:33 14/11/2019
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The selectors have picked Joe Burns to partner southpaw David Warner. Image - Twitter

There were two spots up for grabs in the Australian batting order going into the series against Pakistan and the selectors have opted to give the opening slot to Joe Burns while Travis Head and Cameron Bancroft will fight it out for a position in the middle-order.

“We feel [Joe] was unlucky to miss the Ashes squad,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “Joe’s record speaks for itself, he has Test hundreds on the board and has combined very well with David [Warner] in the past. We also like the feel of a right-hand, left-hand combination at the top of the order.

“Travis scored a hundred against a very good New South Wales attack just a few weeks ago and also offers the option of part-time off-spin. Matthew Wade was superb as a specialist batsman through last summer, had a solid Ashes series with two hundreds and strong start to the current domestic season.

“We anticipate Matthew and Travis will give us a strong middle order in support of the top four. “

Opener Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja miss out after both failed to register significant scores in the recently concluded Ashes series in England.

Youngster Will Pucovski is absent he requested not to be considered for selection citing mental health issues. He joins Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson as players taking mental health leaves.

The home team’s pace attack that boasts of four premier fast bowlers in Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jos Hazlewood and James Pattinson, has been further bolstered by the selection of medium pacer Michael Neser. Nathan Lyon is the lone specialist spinner in the squad.

“We are blessed to have four of the best fast bowlers in the world challenging each other for spots and most importantly playing as a group,” Hohns said. “Cummins, Starc, Hazelwood and Pattinson are daunting pace prospects for any opposition, particularly at home. Michael Neser adds to that group with his ability move the ball both ways, giving the team another bowling option depending on the conditions.”

29-year-old swing bowler Neser has played 51 first-class matches and taken 163 wickets at 26.40 with a career economy rate of 2.96.

Tim Paine will lead the squad and the pair of Pat Cummins and Travis Head have been named vice-captains.The two-Test series begins at the Gabba Brisbane on November 21.

Australia’s Test squad

David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Cameron Bancroft, Tim Paine (capt & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Michael Neser.

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