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Australia lock in XI to face South Africa in first WTC23 Test

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Brisbane: Australia have named their playing XI for the first Test against South Africa, beginning in Brisbane on Saturday.

In a boost for the hosts, skipper Pat Cummins will be fit for the meeting after recovering from a quad injury, confirming the news as he put forward the rest of the XI a day out from play.

The fast bowler takes the reins back from Steve Smith who led the side in the second Test against the West Indies in Cummins’ absence.

With Josh Hazlewood having already been ruled out with a side strain, Scott Boland keeps his spot in the side. Michael Neser is the man to make way for the Australia captain.

The batting order remains unchanged, with the opening pair of Usman Khawaja and David Warner backed by Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith – the No.1 and No.2 MRF Tyres ICC Men’s Test batters respectively.

Travis Head and Cameron Green slot in at No.5 and No.6, while wicketkeeper Alex Carey retains his spot.

Early impressions of the Brisbane pitch this week suggest both world-class pace attacks should enjoy the conditions, though the tourists have history against them, having gone winless there in four attempts in the longest format.

The Test series forms part of the World Test Championship, with Australia (75 per cent of possible points) and South Africa (60 percent of possible points) sitting first and second on the standings.

Australia v South Africa Test series (all matches part of the World Test Championship)

1st Test: 17-21 December, The Gabba, Brisbane

2nd Test: 26-30 December, MCG, Melbourne

3rd Test: 4-8 January, SCG, Sydney

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner

South Africa squad: Dean Elgar (c), Temba Bavuma, Gerald Coetzee, Theunis de Bruyn, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Heinrich Klaasen, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo.

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