The Australian selectors have made a late change to their Test squad to play Sri Lanka, adding New South Wales batsman Kurtis Patterson.
The 25-year-old was one of the glaring omissions from the squad when it was originally named, but a pair of centuries in last week’s tour game seems to have forced the selectors’ hands.
Playing for the CA XI in a three-day match under lights with the pink ball at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Patterson was the star of the show as he blasted 157 and 102 not out.
The Sri Lankan attack couldn’t remove him throughout the game, but more importantly, he outperformed other key players.
Joe Burns, Matt Renshaw, Marnus Labuschagne and Will Pucovski – who were all named in the Test squad and are likely to fight it out for the uncertain spots in Australia’s batting order after a tough series against India – all failed in the tour game.
In fact, Labuschagne was the only batsmen to get to 50, doing it in the second innings, while Matt Renshaw had scores of 7 and 10, Burns 4 and 22 and Pucovskvi 23 and 33 not out.
Patterson has also averaged 47.55 in the Sheffield Shield this season, scoring 428 runs.
The numbers presented a compelling case for Patterson’s late inclusion in the Test squad, and the selectors biting the bullet and adding him suggests he is well and truly in line for a debut in the baggy green when the first Test gets underway on Thursday.
The original squad was named two weeks out from the first Test, which raised eyebrows given the tour match was still to be played.
Selector Trevor Hohns said it was a reward for performance.
“The National Selection Panel has added Kurtis Patterson to the squad for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka,” said Hohns.
“Kurtis has been pushing his case for selection for some time, he has been a consistent top order player for New South Wales, was a member of the Australian A tour of India prior to the commencement of our summer, and was most recently selected to compete in the day night tour match against Sri Lanka in Hobart.”
“We have been asking batters around the country to score hundreds if they want to be considered for selection, and given Kurtis’ consistent performances for NSW and his two unbeaten centuries in last week’s tour match against our upcoming opponent, Sri Lanka, we believe he deserves to be added to the Test squad.”
“Kurtis has joined the squad in Brisbane today to commence our preparations for the first Test starting on Thursday.”
In other selection news for Australia, Josh Hazlewood has picked up a stress fracture and will be missing from the series, and Jhye Richardson was brought into the squad as a replacement over the weekend.