Justin Langer suggests Australia will retain same playing XI in Test battle against New Zealand

Sport360 staff 13:08 10/12/2019
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Australia head coach Justin Langer has suggested that the hosts will field the same playing XI against New Zealand as the one which recently whitewashed Pakistan by 2-0.

Australia take on their Trans-Tasman rivals in a three-match Test series which begins in Perth on Thursday and Langer is keen on not altering a winning combination.

“I’d be a brave man to change the XI,” the Australia coach was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

“The boys are playing well. We’ve still got a couple of training sessions, we haven’t had a look at the wicket yet but I’d say at this stage, more than likely we’ll have the same XI.”

Should Australia retain the same playing XI for the day-night Test in Perth, it will mean that pacers James Pattinson and Michael Neser will be the ones to miss out again.

The ball-tampering scandal in Newlands last year, which led to the suspensions of Steve Smith and David Warner, has seen Australia’s Test outfit being constantly chopped and changed in the subsequent months.

However, the return of the two batting stalwarts has seen the side take on a more settled look, and Langer is eager for the same to continue for a long time.

“I’ve said for 18 months, there used to be a philosophy in Australian cricket, which worked so well for us – it’s harder to get out of the Australian cricket team than it is to get in it,” he stated.

“That usually happens when guys are playing well and the team is playing well. We’ve won the last couple of Test matches.

“There’s definite benefit and advantage in keeping the core group of players together and hopefully this will be another opportunity this week to do that.”

The Aussies will be looking to maintain a proud home record against the Kiwis which has seen them lose just the one series. That defeat came more than three decades ago when a Sir Richard Hadlee led side led the visitors to a 2-1 victory.

The second Test between the two sides will get under way on Boxing Day in Melbourne while Sydney will host the traditional New Year’s Test beginning on January 3.

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