Former Australian cricketer and spin legend Shane Warne has named Australia’s playing XI for the first Test against India, which is a day-night Test, set to start from December 17 at Adelaide Oval, in Adelaide. Ahead of the much-coveted Border-Gavaskar series, the hosts received a major blow as their star opener – David Warner – was ruled out for the opening Test after suffering a groin injury in the concluded 50-over matches that they won by a margin of 2-1.
As a result, Warne has picked Will Pucovski/ Marcus Harris to replace Warner in the playing XI and as an opening partner for Joe Burns.
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Earlier, Pucovski had picked a blow on the head during the first practice Test match against India A at the Drummoyne Oval in Sydney and was initially sidelined for the opening Test, but he is likely to be match-fit for the first Test. The 22-year-old has been a run-machine in Australia’s first-class matches season, scoring 1744 runs in 23 matches, averaging over 54, with 6 centuries and 5 half-centuries.
In the middle-order, Warner has vouched for Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. Smith averages 62-plus in the longest format of the game, and against India, he has notched 7 centuries in 10 Tests, averaged over 84, and aggregated 1429 runs to his name. Labuschagne has been equally effective in Tests, amassing 1459 runs in 14 matches at an average of 63.43 and 4 hundreds under his belt.
I would like to see Cameron Green play, says Shane Warne
At number five, he picked Travis head followed by Matthew Wade and Cameron Green as the viable options for the number six slot. Along with Pucovski, Green has been a force to deal with in domestic matches. In 20 First-Class matches, the 21-year-old Subiaco-born cricketer has piled 1321 runs with 5 hundreds and 3 fifties, including 32 wickets while averaging less than 22. However, Warne mentioned that he would pick Green only if the conditions are seam favorable.
“I would love to get Cameron Green in the side but I reckon I would have a look at the pitch first,” the spin-wizard was quoted saying to Fox Sports.
“If they feel like they want a few extra overs with the pink ball then I would get Green in. He is in such good form, I would like to see him play but if not then I would like to see him debut when it is a bit easier than under lights with the pink ball and I would pick Matthew Wade,” Warne added.
Warner, who has been a veteran of 145 Tests and scalped 708 wickets, picked the trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in the bowling attack. Starc wasn’t available for the last two T20Is owing to a family illness and thus, the pacer had returned home whereas Cummins was rested for the final one-day international and the three T20Is that followed for the forthcoming four-match Test series.
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Among spinners, Nathan Lyon remains the only specialist bowler in the lineup. The off-spinner bagged the most number of wickets for Australia, and was the joint highest wicket-taker in the previous Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scalping 21 wickets in 4 matches.
Shane Warne’s Australia XI for the first Test:
Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins (vc), Joe Burns, Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood, Cameron Green/Matthew Wade, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Marcus Harris/ Will Pucovski, Nathan Lyon, and Mitchell Starc.