Millennium Post

Aussies pick Josh over Siddle for Test opener

Josh Hazlewood was preferred to Peter Siddle as Australia’s third pace bowler on Wednesday for the opening Test against New Zealand on the bouncy Gabba wicket.

Skipper Steve Smith said Hazlewood was picked to complement Australia’s two left-arm pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc in the bowling attack for Thursday’s first Test.

Siddle misses out despite taking six wickets in his last Test appearance against England in August, after Hazlewood was dropped for the final Test of the failed Ashes campaign. “Peter will be the 12th man. It’s obviously disappointing for him, he bowled extremely well in the last Test match at The Oval against England. That’s the team we’ve gone with,” Smith told a Test-eve media conference.

“Josh did a terrific job out here (Gabba) last year and I think he’ll complement both the left-armers really well. “There is going to be extra pace and bounce on this wicket like we normally get.

“We saw last year here against India the way he could hit high on the bat and bring the ‘keeper and the slips into play. I think the Gabba and the WACA (second Perth Test) will certainly suit him.

“He’s come a long way, he’s learnt a lot out of England series and he bowled really well in the (Sheffield) Shield game last week, so he’s really in a good place and hopefully he can have similar results to what he had last year.”

Hazlewood took five for 68 in India’s first innings on his Test debut at the Gabba last December. Smith also said that all-rounder Mitch Marsh would bat at six with wicketkeeper Peter Nevill at seven.

The Black Caps preferred Doug Bracewell to Matt Henry in their eleven. “It’s a bit of a coin-toss with them but we’re comfortable either way... and we felt that Doug was bowling a touch better at this time,” Kiwi captain Brendon McCullum said.
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