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Australia names five potential debutantes for Pakistan tests

September 11, 2018

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia, hit by suspensions and injuries involving its top players, has named a 15-man squad for a two-test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates with five players yet to debut at test level.

New coach Justin Langer was not able to select from among the suspended trio of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft and injured fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

The squad announced Tuesday includes potential test debutantes Michael Neser, Brendan Doggett and Marnus Labuschagne from Queensland state, South Australia’s Travis Head and Victoria’s Aaron Finch.

Smith, Warner and Bancroft were suspended following a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.

“There has been significant change to our test squad due to the unavailability of a number of key players,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “Looking at the conditions we may face in the UAE, we believe this squad covers all bases.”

Pakistan beat Australia 2-0 the last time the teams played in the United Arab Emirates in 2014.

The first test begins Oct. 7 in Dubai, with the second test scheduled for Abu Dhabi from Oct. 16. The teams will later play three Twenty20 matches.

Veteran Peter Siddle, who has played 62 tests, and spinners Ashton Agar and Jon Holland are also in the squad for the test series. The side will be captained by wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

“Peter is a proven performer in the test arena, who has been in outstanding form in his recent first-class outings over in England,” Hohns said. “His experience will be crucial for this bowling group.”

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Australia squad: Tim Paine (captain), Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc.

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