Langer’s first Test team takes shape
JUSTIN Langer's first Test XI has become clearer after selections for Australia's four-day tour game against Pakistan A were announced on cricket.com.au.
Out of the five uncapped players named in the Test squad, three have been handed opportunities to impress in the tour match - Aaron Finch, Travis Head and Michael Neser.
Spinner Jon Holland, who has only played two Tests, has also been picked to partner Nathan Lyon.
Missing out from the 15-man squad are Ashton Agar, Brendan Doggett, Marnus Labuschagne and Peter Siddle.
Agar was included in the squad as a potential third-spinning option, but his omission will likely see part-time off-spinner Head fulfil the role while batting in the middle-order.
The tour match will hand Finch an opportunity to prove his red-ball credentials after playing 93 ODIs but not one Test for his nation.
He's expected to open the batting alongside Matt Renshaw, who was one of two opening replacements for David Warner and Cameron Bancroft in South Africa.
That will leave Usman Khawaja at his familiar No.3 despite scoring 167 runs in his one match as opener against India A earlier this month.
Shaun Marsh and Head are expected to follow in the order before Mitch Marsh, who will for the first time act in his official capacity as vice-captain.
Neser has been favoured as Mitchell Starc's strike partner after impressing in the subcontinent during the 'A' tour. The Queenslander - who was also the Sheffield Shield's second-highest wicket-taker last season - claimed six wickets at 24.16 during two four-day matches, with an economy rate of 3.06.
He was picked over Bulls teammate Doggett and Victoria's Siddle, who earnt a shock recall to the Test squad two years after his last appearance.
Holland will partner Lyon to complete Australia's spin attack for the first time since August 2016 .
Meanwhile, Pakistan have left out struggling pace spearhead Mohammad Amir from its 17-member squad for the two-match Test series.
The 26-year-old fast bowler, who returned from a five-year ban for match-fixing in January 2016, had a wicketless Asia Cup in which he was dropped for two matches.
Australia XI for tour match v Pakistan A: Tim Paine (c), Aaron Finch, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland.
Pakistan A squad: Asad Shafiq (c), Sami Aslam, Abid Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Usman Salahuddin, Saad Ali, Agha Salman, Muhammad Rizwan, Waqas Maqsood, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Amir Yamin, Umaid Asif, Saud Shakeel.