Australia will be all set to host their neighbours New Zealand after a comprehensive 2-0 win against Pakistan. Meanwhile, the kiwis will kick-off their ICC World Test Champions campaign after a hard-fought 1-0 series win versus England in the two-match Test series. Both sides are guaranteed to put in fighting display in what promises to be a mouth-watering contest.
Date- Thursday, December 12 | Kick-off- 10:30 AM (IST) | Venue- Optus Stadium
Australia | Team Combination
The hosts have named an unchanged squad for the first game with Cameron Bancroft released as he looks forward to domestic cricket.
With that being said, Mitchell Starc has a minor toe issue and is doubtful to feature in the first Test.
David Warner, Steve Smith and Labuschagne have been in red hot form with the bat and would have the onus to score the majority of the runs.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathon Lyon should be in charge of the bowling department.
Squad-Tim Paine(c), David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Pat Cummins, Steven Smith, Matthew Wade, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Michael Neser, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
New Zealand | Team Combination
Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme missed the final Test against England but the duo is back in contention for the big game against rivals Australia.
Matt Henry and Daryl Mitchell might have to settle for the dressing room as a result of the recent inclusions.
The skipper, Kane Williamson does have a few hip problems but should be seen leading his side on Thursday morning.
Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls should have the burden of putting on the runs for the Kiwis.
Tim Southee should lead the pace attack alongside Boult if fit. Niel Wagner and Mitchell Santner are expected to contribute in the middle overs.
Squad- Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tom Blundell, Neil Wagner, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Trent Boult
Australia- David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc
New Zealand-Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Neil Wagner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson/Trent Boult.
David Warner was the player of the series against Pakistan due to his brilliant knocks with the bat. One of those knocks was a belligerent inning of 335* in the final Test.
Marnus Labuschagne’s inclusion in the Australian team has added further stability to their batting lineup. Labuschagne has scored 910 runs in 17 innings with an average of 53.52
Though Steve Smith didn’t have much to offer against Pakistan, his gritty approach with the bat and consistency is hard to let go off. Smith has scored 7013 runs from 126 innings with an average of 63.75
From New Zealand’s perspective, Kane Williamson can pack a punch with the bat. The Kiwi skipper has 6322 runs from 133 innings with an average of 52.68
Tim Southee will be pivotal with the new ball in hand as he was against England. The pacer has scalped 258 wickets for New Zealand in 69 Tests.
Wicket-Keepers- M Wade, B Watling
Batsmen- S Smith, D Warner, K Williamson (VC), J Raval
All-Rounders- M Labushagne (C), M Santner
Bowlders- P Cummins, J Pattinson, T Southee
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