Australia and England have announced the changes for the Boxing Day test, with Scott Boland set to become the second Indigenous male cricketer to wear the Baggy Green cap and Jonny Bairstow one of four changes for tourists.
As expected, Pat Cummins returns as Australia captain after his close contact with a positive Covid case saw him miss the 275-race victory in Adelaide. But the hosts, sitting 2-0 and looking to wrap up a series victory at the earliest opportunity, added new legs to their seam attack in the form of Victoria’s Boland.
The 32-year-old, who discovered a family connection to the Gulidjan tribe in his twenties through his maternal grandfather, follows in the footsteps of fellow fashion designer Jason Gillespie, the first test cricketer for Native men, and Faith Thomas and Ash Gardner, who both represented the women’s test team.
Speaking about the decision, Cummins said, âIt’s huge for him to become the second Indigenous [menâs] Test the cricketer. Stunned [Gillespie] Was the first. In Australia we have a rich history stretching back 50 to 60,000 years and it’s great that it’s starting to be reflected in our team. “
Boland, a right-arm fast-middle pitcher who has already won 19 caps for Australia in limited cricket, also brings specialist local knowledge to the MCG and claimed eight wickets when Victoria beat New South Wales in the last first-class ground match. back in november.
Jhye Richardson has reported leg pain after claiming a five-wicket first try in Adelaide, while Michael Neser is also retiring to rest. Josh Hazlewood has yet to recover from a secondary strain he suffered at Gabba.
âIt’s a luxury to have someone like Scotty ready to go, he’s fresh and excited to have his chance,â Cummins added. âWe think he is really well suited on his field to come and play. It is a dream for him to get his Baggy Green.
Meanwhile, England are hoping four changes can apply the defibrillator to what has been a flat campaign, with Bairstow returning at No.6, Zak Crawley returning as opener, Mark Wood injecting rhythm into the Couture attack and Jack Leach offering Captain Joe Root a frontline rotation option once Sequel.
Ollie Pope had edged Bairstow on the eve of the series, but the 23-year-old right-hander struggled to repay the Faith. His first 34 in Brisbane were followed by scores of four, five and four which, along with a fight against Nathan Lyon, prompted head coach Chris Silverwood to make the switch.
As expected, Rory Burns made him a second Surrey batsman to be retired as the opener’s first player at Gabba set the tone for a disappointing streak. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes are the crimps to leave the bench, the latter’s absence at No.8 – England’s third-highest scorer – lengthening the tail.
Jos Buttler, speaking ahead of England’s practice on Christmas morning, said: âIt’s a huge game for us, and a great place to come and play cricket. Everyone is delighted to be here and I’m sure it will be a harsh environment, but you have to embrace it and appreciate it. We know we have to bring our best cricket because we haven’t done it yet and it’s disappointing. With the situation we find ourselves in, we have to get there quickly.
Australia (confirmed) David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (week), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.
England (confirmed) Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (week), Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, Jimmy Anderson.