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Three changes confirmed in new-look Australian squad to play Sri Lanka

9th January, 2019
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9th January, 2019
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The Australian squad has been confirmed for their two-Test series against Sri Lanka in Brisbane and Canberra, with four players being dropped and Will Pucovski set to potentially make his debut.

A 13-man squad has been named by the Cricket Australia selectors with both the Marsh brothers, alongside struggling batsmen Peter Handscomb and Aaron Finch, dropped.

In their place, gun 20-year-old Victorian Will Pucovski could be in line to make his debut, while Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns have also been included in the squad.

With four players out from the Indian Tests, it’s clear the selectors are after a new-look side, with the Tests in Brisbane and Canberra against Sri Lanka the final ones before the 2019 Ashes tour to England.

It looks likely that one of Renshaw and Burns will open alongside Marcus Harris, while Usman Khawaja will return to number three after he was promoted to the top of the order against India during the final Test in Sydney.

Travis Head will also be in the middle order with captain and keeper Tim Paine, while Marnus Labuschagne, Pucovski and the overlooked opener will compete for the final spot. If Renshaw is given the nod at the top of the innings, Burns could still earn selection in the middle order.

The bowling attack for the series has remained the same, despite calls this week to have either Chris Tremain or Jhye Richardson included in the side. Peter Siddle will again be the fourth quick bowler.

On top of the squad to play Sri Lanka, the CA XI to play the Sri Lankans in a tour match in Hobart has also been announced.

The selectors appear to be using it as a selection trial, with Burns to captain the side and all of Renshaw, Labuschagne and Pucovski included.

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They will play alongside Jason Sangha, Kurtis Patterson, Jake Doran, Chris Tremain, Jon Holland, Scott Boland and Michael Neser in what may well be the strongest side Australia have named for a tour match in recent history.

Speaking on the squad, National Selector Trevor Hohns said the disappointing Indian series led to changes.

“There is no doubt the India series produced some disappointing results and we have now reviewed the squad ahead of the series against Sri Lanka,” Hohns said.

“Joe Burns has had strong performances in first-class cricket this season, and we believe he can contribute strongly if given the chance in the series.

“Matt Renshaw is a player with the ability to make big scores, and at 22 years old has ten first-class centuries. He also performed extremely well in England during the County season. We see him as a long-term prospect as a Test player and have confidence in his ability to bounce back following a string of low scores early in the Shield season.

“Will Pucovski is an exciting young player who is making his mark in the Sheffield Shield. He is another player with a track record of making centuries. We look forward to him joining the squad and congratulate him on his first national call-up.

“All three will play in the CA XI match prior to the first Test, to give them the best possible preparation to play Test cricket for Australia.”

“Ultimately Aaron, Peter, Shaun and Mitch have not produced the performances expected of them with the bat at the Test level. They have been given good opportunity, but have not produced the scores we need.

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“All four are very good players, and the door is by no means closed for them to return to play Test cricket for Australia.”

Australian 13-man squad to play Sri Lanka

Tim Paine (c) – Tasmania
Josh Hazlewood (vc) – New South Wales
Joe Burns – Queensland
Pat Cummins – New South Wales
Marcus Harris – Victoria
Travis Head – South Australia
Usman Khawaja – Queensland
Marnus Labuschagne – Queensland
Nathan Lyon – New South Wales
Will Pucovski – Victoria
Matt Renshaw – Queensland
Mitchell Starc – New South Wales
Peter Siddle – Victoria

CA XI to play Sri Lanka tour game
Joe Burns (c) – Queensland
Kurtis Patterson (vc) – New South Wales
Scott Boland – Victoria
Jake Doran (wk) – Tasmania
Jon Holland – Victoria
Marnus Labuschagne – Queensland
Michael Neser – Queensland
Will Pucovski – Victoria
Jason Sangha – New South Wales
Matt Renshaw – Queensland
Chris Tremain – Victoria