Australia vs Sri Lanka: Hosts announce playing XI for the first Test

The two teams now compete in the Test arena for the Warne-Muralidharan Trophy – named after the two ace spinners from either side.

Australia vs New Zealand
Australia vs Sri Lanka. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Shubham Ghosh

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Australia will play Sri Lanka in a two-Test series starting at the Gabba, Brisbane, on Thursday and it will be an opportunity for the Baggy Greens to salvage some pride after the 1-2 loss they suffered in the hands of India recently. The first Test will be a day-night affair and the hosts have decided to play two debutants Kurtis Patterson, Jhye Richardson beside recalling Joe Burns for the match.

Both the debutants that Australia have decided to include in the playing XI made the cut in the last minute. While pacer Jhye Richardson came in for an injured Josh Hazlewood, who was also the vice-captain of the side, New South Wales batsman Kurtis Patterson was called after he slammed hundreds in the warm-up match against the Sri Lankans in Hobart last week.

Peter Siddle was named the 12th man while Will Pucovski, another newcomer, along with Matthew Renshaw were made to sit out for the game. Australia and Sri Lanka have played only 29 Test matches between them since 1983 with the former having a 17-4 lead while eight Tests have ended in draws. The Asians have toured Australia six times so far and are yet to win a single Test Down Under. The two teams now compete in the Test arena for the Warne-Muralidharan Trophy – named after the two ace spinners from either side.

Seven players made debut for Australia since Sandpapergate

The debut of Richardson and Patterson will raise the number of debutants for Australia in Tests since the Sandpapergate fiasco in South Africa last year to seven. Two top players in Steve Smith and David Warner along with young Cameron Bancroft were banned after that ill-famous series and the Kangaroos have struggled against almost every opponent since then.

Richardson had an impressive ODI outing against India in the recent series and his pace and accuracy have won accolades. Patterson, on the other hand, hit two centuries against Sri Lanka just after an unbeaten century in the JLT Sheffield Shield in November, giving enough hint that he is in prime touch.

“I like batting (at the Gabba). I think the last pink-ball game here I had some success, and we had a good win,” Patterson was quoted as saying by Richardson also has been in excellent form the Shield, picking 27 wickets in five matches at an average of below 20.

Australia’s playing XI: 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)

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