Australia name unchanged squad for Brisbane Test against Pakistan

Australian selectors have named an unchanged 12-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba starting on December 15. After a humiliating loss in Hobart, Australia's fifth straight Test loss, selectors wielded the axe and adopted a youth-centric policy with half the squad being changed. The transformation yielded instant result with Australia recording an impressive eight-wicket victory in the third Test against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval.
Debutant batsmen Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb impressed but fellow newcomer Nic Maddinson made a duck. Shaun Marsh, West Australian batsman, was not considered as he recovers from a broken finger easing pressure on Maddinson's position.
Trevor Hohns, interim chief selector, said the youthful team deserved another chance "We were very pleased with how the team came together in Adelaide after some significant changes following the Tests in Perth and Hobart," he said on Thursday (December 8). "This is a young group with a lot of promise and we believe all deserve their opportunity again in this upcoming Test."
Nathan Lyon, Australia's incumbent spinner, was in the gun heading into Adelaide but a match-turning effort late on day three of that Test has seemingly revived his fortunes. In the latest Shield match against South Australia, Lyon took five wickets in NSW's two-wicket loss to ensure his position in the national team is safe.
Australia's third seamer position, behind spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood will once again be contested between Jackson Bird and Chadd Sayers. Bird got the nod in Adelaide but had a modest outing claiming just three wickets, although he did snare the prized wicket of wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock early on day four to dash South Africa's faint hopes of victory.
Sayers's hot start to the Shield season, where he is the leading wicket-taker with 29 wickets at 18.58 from five games, ensures selectors have a big call to make ahead of the inaugural day-night Test in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, Marsh's injury-ravaged career continues and Alex Kountouris, Australia's physiotherapist, said it was still unknown when the 33-year-old would return to competitive cricket.
"Shaun has yet to resume batting and will have a follow-up x-ray this week that will be reviewed by a specialist," he said. "This will determine when he can resume cricket training."
The first Test starts on December 15 and will be followed by Tests at Melbourne (December 26) and Sydney (January 3) before a five-match ODI series.
Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nic Maddinson, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Renshaw, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade.

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