Australia announces playing XI for the opening Test against New Zealand.

Australia announces playing XI for the opening Test against New Zealand. Australia has made no changes to their playing lineup from the recent series against the West Indies.

After defeating New Zealand in the T20I series, Australia will now play a two-match Test series, beginning February 29 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. Ahead of that, the visitors have revealed their playing XI, with experienced opener Steven Smith continuing at number one, and all three pacers – Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood – included in the team.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be focused on Smith. Following David Warner’s retirement from the longest format of the game, the veteran took his place, but has yet to show himself. In the series against the West Indies, the 34-year-old struggled in the first innings but scored 91* runs in the fourth, but no other hitter supported him in the middle as the Kraigg Brathwaite-led side made history by defeating Australia by eight runs at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Australia haven’t changed their playing XI since the West Indies series. Usman Khawaja, who had a great 2023 has still to make the most of the opportunity in 2024. That’s a bit of a problem, while Marnus Labuschagne hasn’t been able to convert his starts. Which is something he would look to improve in the upcoming assignment.

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Mitchell Marsh is in amazing form

He has maintained his form since 2023, for which he received the Allan Border Medal. The 32-year-old intends to continue in the same vein and bring success to Australia. Travis Head, meanwhile, will try to improve his form after failing to capitalise on his opportunities against the West Indies.

As is customary, Australia’s bowling department appears to be in order. Despite having played five Tests in Australia this summer, the speed three is ready to go again, demonstrating their fitness level. Skipper Cummins earlier stated that all of the pacers wanted to play all seven Test matches. As things stand, that is what they will do.

Australia’s playing XI includes Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green. Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood.

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