Langer: I'd be a brave man to change the Aussie XI

Justin Langer (PA)
Justin Langer (PA)

Cape Town - Australia head coach Justin Langer said he would have to be a "brave man" to change the team for the first Test against New Zealand, starting in Perth on Thursday.

The Aussies stuck to the same 11 players for both Tests in the recent series whitewash against Pakistan and it is expected that the same group will do duty in the first of three Tests against the Black Caps.

Fast bowler James Pattinson is back in contention for selection after sitting out the first game of the Pakistan series due to disciplinary issues.

Mitchell Starc, the paceman most vulnerable to keep his place in the Test team earlier in the season, promptly took 14 wickets across the two matches against Pakistan and is set to start the series against the Kiwis.

Langer told reporters: "I'd be a brave man to change the XI.

"The boys are playing well. We've still got a couple of training sessions, we haven't had a look at the wicket yet but I'd say at this stage more than likely we'll have the same XI.

"I've said for 18 months there used to be a philosophy in Australian cricket which worked so well for us, it's harder to get into the Australian cricket team than it is to get out of it.

"That usually happens when guys are playing well and the team is playing well. We've won the last couple of Test matches.

"There's definite benefit and advantage in keeping the core group of players together and hopefully this will be another opportunity this week to do that."

After the Test in Perth the teams will move on to the traditional festive season fixtures with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the series concluding with the New Year's Test in Sydney.

- TEAMTalk

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