Australia Squad for New Zealand Test Series Analysis - Bancroft hard done, Pattinson's hara-kiri and more
Right after the Pakistan series, New Zealand take a short flight to Australia for a three-Test series, beginning with a day-night Test on December 12 in Perth.
The only change that Australia have made to their squad which decimated Pakistan 2-0, if it can be called a change at all, is to slash one player from the squad. The Aussies had named a 14-member squad for the Pakistan series but have now cut it down to 13, with Cameron Bancroft being the one to miss out.
After announcing the squad, chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said: “We have cut the squad from 14 to 13, we’re very comfortable of course with our batting line-up at the moment, they are functioning quite well.
“So we don’t see it necessary to have a batsman as cover in the squad at the moment. Of course we do reserve the right to add a player if necessary throughout this series.”
Unchallenged batting line-up
How do you judge a batting line-up which lost only 13 wickets in a two-match Test series and batted only twice? Even if a batsman gets a golden duck in both his knocks, you cannot judge him much for that as that is part and parcel of Test cricket.
Now some of the Aussie batsmen only got one hit and came out to bat when the team needed some quick runs. It is hardly possible to judge them on the basis of that.
David Warner came to his own in familiar conditions with 154 in the first Test. He backed it up with a magnificent unbeaten triple century at Adelaide to reiterate why he is considered one of the best in the business.
His opening partner Joe Burns missed his century by just three runs in the first Test and got dismissed cheaply in the second one.
Marnus Labuschagne's consistency was a revelation for the home side. He scored 185 and 162 in the two opportunities he got. If you have to criticize him for the sake of it, you can only say that he should have gone on to convert one of them into a double century.
Steve Smith got out in a bid to accelerate after getting starts in both the matches. Matthew Wade did the job of accumulating some quick runs in both the Tests and Travis Head had nothing much to do. Hence, the line-up looks well settled.
Unfair on Cameron Bancroft
Many including Cameron Bancroft himself was surprised when he was named in the Australia squad for the Test series against Pakistan. At the time of his selection, the quality of putting the team before himself was highlighted.
If that was indeed the case, nothing much has changed and Bancroft should have retained his place by the same logic rather than being dropped from the squad without getting a game.
One understands the logic here is to release him in order to let him ply his trade in Sheffield Shield cricket, which is better than sitting around in the changing room, but it still is a bit unfair on the batsman.
Bowling quartet firing on all cylinders
Josh Hazlewood picked up 10 wickets in the series against Pakistan. Pat Cummins chipped in with eight. Nathan Lyon might have gone for a few runs without much success in the first innings at Adelaide but bounced back in the second innings to pick up a 5-wicket haul, which took his tally to seven in the series.
The real positive for the Australian side, though, was the form of Mitchell Starc. Starc, who got only one Test in the Ashes, made a few tweaks in his delivery stride and reaped rich rewards, with 14 wickets from two matches. He not only did his usual job of cleaning up the tail but also swung the ball first up to dismiss top-order batsmen.
Pattinson shoots himself in the foot
If James Pattinson had any chance to get a look-in in the final XI, it was in place of Mitchell Starc. Now that the left-armer has roared back to form, it would be almost impossible for Pattinson to break through again, and he has no one but himself to blame for it.
Pattinson might have started for Australia in the first Test against Pakistan had he not used objectionable language against a player in Sheffield Shield cricket. It is moments like these which make or break careers and Pattinson might have dealt a big blow to his Test career by this whimsical act.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
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