Domain Tests v Sri Lanka
Australia name two debutants for Gabba
Skipper Tim Paine names his side's XI for the day-night Gabba Test against Sri Lanka
Adam Burnett in Brisbane
23 January 2019, 06:19 PM AEST
Australia will play two debutants and have recalled Joe Burns for the first Domain Test against Sri Lanka, beginning Thursday at the Gabba.
Appearing for the first time in Baggy Green will be Western Australian quick Jhye Richardson and New South Wales batsman Kurtis Patterson, who were both late call-ups to this Australia squad; the former following a back problem for Josh Hazlewood and the latter after making twin hundreds in an unofficial warm-up match against Sri Lanka in Hobart last week.
The team for the day-night Test was confirmed this afternoon, with seamer Peter Siddle named 12th man and 20-year-old Victoria batter Will Pucovski overlooked along with Queensland opener Matthew Renshaw.
Richardson and Patterson bring the total to seven debutants in what will be eight Tests since the sandpaper scandal in South Africa last March, a statistic that underlines the uncertainty around the make-up of Australia's side and reflects a return of just one win from seven in that period.
Both players however, bring with them excitement and hope.
Patterson, a 25-year-old who speaks with a maturity beyond his years and who has recently and emphatically overcome an issue of converting strong starts into centuries; the twin hundreds in Hobart came after a fine 107 not out away to the Warriors in the JLT Sheffield Shield at the end of November.
Patterson also presents a strong case to be considered Australia's best player of the pink ball. In 14 innings in day-night first-class cricket, the left-hander averages 65 and has four hundreds, one of which came at the Gabba a couple of summers ago.
"I like batting (at the Gabba)," Patterson said this week. "I think the last pink-ball game here I had some success, and we had a good win.
"I guess I feel like I've played enough pink-ball cricket now that I can understand where I'm going with that."
Richardson's impressive form in the ODI series against India, during which he bowled with unrelenting pace and accuracy, appears to be what tipped him in front of others as Hazlewood's replacement.
But the 22-year-old has also been in excellent form in the Shield, having claimed 27 wickets in five matches at 19.03, including a devastating haul of 8-47 against New South Wales – the same innings in which Patterson made his most recent state century.
"Jhye has had an impressive first half in his Sheffield Shield season and no-one could deny he has now continued that form in ODI matches for Australia," said selection chief Trevor Hohns last Saturday.
"We consider Jhye to be an ideal replacement in the squad for Josh."
Queenslander Burns will play his first Test since being flown in to Johannesburg last April in the immediate aftermath of the sandpaper scandal.
The 29-year-old, whom coach Justin Langer has previously referred to as "unlucky" to have missed Test selection in his tenure already, has scored 1,073 runs at an average of 63.12 from his past 10 Shield matches.
This summer, he is the competition's fifth-highest run-scorer, having passed fifty in four of his past five matches, a run that includes scores of 74, 96 and 80no.
"I'm really happy with the way I'm batting," Burns told cricket.com.au last month following the break in the Shield season.
"I feel like I'm batting well enough to not just make hundreds, but really big hundreds.
"That hasn't happened for me yet but I feel like if I keep putting myself in the position, the big scores will come."
Pucovski, the 20-year-old who has drawn comparisons to Ricky Ponting and who made an epic 243 early in the JLT Sheffield Shield season, was overlooked despite impressing skipper Tim Paine in recent days.
"Just the way he holds himself is really impressive," Paine said at the Gabba today. "He's got a little bit of an aura about him, but in a quiet, softly spoken kind of way.
"I think the way he goes about his batting is really simple as well, and it's been clear the last few days in the nets that he's going to be up to this level.
"And it's exciting to have someone of that sort of talent, and for him to be so mature and calm for his age I think it's really exciting for us as a team and as a country to have someone like that come on to the scene. It's been a while."
Australia Test side: Marcus Harris, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Kurtis Patterson, Tim Paine (c/wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Lyon. Peter Siddle (12th man)
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (c/wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha
Jan 24-28: First Test, Gabba (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Canberra