Melbourne, Dec 18 – Australia have announced their 13-player squad for the upcoming Boxing Day Test against Pakistan here on December 26.
The reigning ICC World Test Championship winners have resisted the urge to tinker too much with their squad following their emphatic 360-run over Pakistan in Perth and have instead opted to trim their playing group from 14 to 13 for the iconic MCG Test match.
Uncapped pacer Lance Morris drops out of the squad to return to domestic T20 duties in Australia, with Australia likely to stick with the same XI that cruised to victory in Perth.
It means the experienced trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and skipper Pat Cummins look likely to share the new-ball duties in Melbourne, with local quick Scott Boland the only other seam option remaining in the 13-player group, an ICC report said.
All-rounder Cameron Green remains in the reckoning after holding his place in the squad, but Cummins believes it will be difficult to make any changes to the side that produced such a dominant performance in Perth.
“I don’t think injuries are going to be an issue, so I dare say it will be a pretty similar line-up at this stage,” Cummins said of the XI who will play in the Boxing Day Test.
“I think all the bowlers are pretty fresh after (the win in Perth). It’s basically the ideal start to the summer,” he said.
Star batter Marnus Labuschagne has been cleared of any serious damage to the finger he hurt during the opening Test against Pakistan and is expected to retain his place in the side in Melbourne.
Australia are currently fifth on the World Test Championship standings with a 41.67 win-loss percentage, while Pakistan are tied at the top with India with a 66.67 percentage.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, David Warner.