So the Australian Test squad has just announced its starting XI that will go for the next five days.
This campaign will begin tomorrow at The Gabba in Brisbane in a first of the two-match contest v Sri Lanka.
First of all, good to see Joe Burns come back after a great start into the 2018-19 Sheffield Shield season.
Burns has plenty of knowledge about this pitch having played a lot of times for Queensland and Brisbane Heat.
Plus the left-right hand combination with blooming classic left-hand Opener Marcus Harris will do to fire off should Australia bat first.
So that pushes Usman Khawaja back at first-drop who usually thrives in his usual position.
He has scored some solid scores such as a 50 over the past month v India at home as Khawaja looks to recapture his form.
At No.4, Marnus Labuschagne will get another chance to shine with the bat having scored 38 earlier this month at the SCG v India.
I may be a bit surprised if Labuschagne would bowl his leg-spin again after a horror run at the same time.
Although, if he did take some wickets, I apologize as hopeful that Labuschagne will prove me wrong as a batting all-rounder.
But unquestionably, his approach to batting will be the key to this wicket where Labuschagne scored some 50s & 100s at home for Queensland.
And at last, if he does make a 50 or 100 in this match, then Labuschagne can keep his spot in the long-run.
However, we’ll wait and see once Steve Smith and David Warner come back from their suspensions.
Travis Head will retain his spot at No.5.
He didn’t have a high score last time round of 20 in Sydney v India a few weeks back.
This time, Head will come back fresh as he seeks to continue making a good impression and frustrate the Sri Lankan bowlers.
At No.6, Here’s your perfect Shaun Marsh replacement.
He’s proven and established at first-class level with New South Wales for many years at Shield level.
Plus he scored a century v Sri Lanka on both innings during a Tour Match last week at Blundstone Arena in Hobart.
His name is Kurtis Patterson.
Patterson will bring his tools at the crease when he will do a couple of things to keep his wicket:
- The technique has to be simple
- Head not losing balance
- Moving the feet closer to the ball
- Playing off a straight bat & blocking 100s of times
He didn’t have to rush through the whole time to achieve those three figures.
All Patterson had to do is just come in the middle and stay for extended periods using those basic methods.
Based on his superb state red-ball record, I think Cricket Australia has promoted their Cheteshwar Pujara by calling Patterson up.
Now Patterson will keep his head up in the eye of making his debut 50 or 100.
Tim Paine will as always keep wicket and Captain at No.7 where he will do everything it takes to keep it simple.
The support from his team-mates is the key to make the tactics and approach both behind the stumps and crease work.
Lower Order Part 1
Pat Cummins will continue to thrive both bat and ball in the No.8 position as the leading contributor for Australia.
The same goes from Mitchell Starc at No.9 where he will open with the ball in hand.
Though, Starc must perform well this time to unleash that fire under his belly and scare the Sri Lankan batsman at high speed.
That includes the change of length and type of variation Starc needs to do at least take a few wickets in hand.
But if Starc makes the same old excuses like he did last month v India, then CA has to give someone a chance in his spot.
I know he’s one of the best bowlers Australia has seen in recent years.
However, it’s not a guaranteed or translated success that Starc takes 3-6 wickets in every game in which it hasn’t happened in recent times.
So it’s go hard or go home for Mitchell Starc.
Lower Order Part 2
Josh Hazlewood is now injured so the 22-year-old speedster from Perth, Western Australia comes in.
His name is Jhye Richardson who plays for his hometown state as well as the Australian 50-Over & Twenty20 Team.
Richardson may not be tall as Starc and Hazlewood.
But at least, he has the pace to burn over 150 clicks as well as the ability to make the kookaburra swing towards the attacking stumps target.
It’s something that Hazlewood does quite often as CA made the right choice to replace him with someone who carries the same caliber.
Richardson’s the perfect foil to support Starc and Cummins as he’ll look to contribute amongst the wickets for Australia.
And at last, Nathan Lyon will lead the line amongst the spinners looking to continue the form on his off-spin.
Australia’s Starting XI for the 1st Test tomorrow
- Marcus Harris
- Joe Burns
- Usman Khawaja
- Marnus Labuschagne
- Travis Head, Vice-Captain
- Kurtis Patterson
- Tim Paine, Captain & Wicket-Keeper
- Pat Cummins, Vice-Captain
- Mitchell Starc
- Jhye Richardson
- Nathan Lyon
Conclusion, Part 1
Everyone is more than happy to see an exciting crop of youngsters on the show that CA produced in recent years.
Marcus Harris is a classic left-hand opener who possess the same style as his boss Justin Langer (Head Coach).
On the other hand, Marnus Labuschagne has scored countless of runs in the first-class level before as he seeks to secure his first Test 50.
Labuschagne has the chance to thrive at No.4 where his placement and approach to batting does look similar to Steve Smith.
The same goes to Travis Head before we look at an even exciting prospect in Kurtis Patterson.
Patterson has a tremendous first-class record for his state for many years where he became the youngest player to secure a 100 in the history of the Sheffield Shield at age 18.
Now, CA has listened to the fans responses and his recent centuries on both innings for CA XI as Patterson will look to score a debut Test 100.
And at last, Jhye Richardson.
He will unleash the fire and throw some pace to make the Sri Lankan batsmen to play.
From the short ball strategy to yorkers and swingers, Richardson has every definition in the book covered to secure a few wickets in hand.
Conclusion, Part 2
Alright, the squad selection now done and dusted as every Australian fan should get behind this young and exciting team full of talent.
I hope Australia will not be negative like they did in recent months and off to a great start of Test Cricket in 2019.
Just keep it simple, and you’ll get a win based on different types of wickets taken as well as decent runs like centuries made in the middle.
If you live near Brisbane and looking to come to the Gabba, then great, go for it.
Otherwise, you can catch it LIVE on Channel 7 via Free to Air and FOX Cricket on Foxtel/Kayo Sports from 1 PM AEDT tomorrow.