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World Test Championship

Bancroft excluded as Australia announce squad for New Zealand Tests

Australia news

Australia have announced a 13-member squad for their three-Test home series against New Zealand, beginning with the day/night Test in Perth.

Much of the same side that defeated Pakistan 2-0 has been retained.Β "We are backing the current batting line-up to continue their form across the next three Tests," head selector Trevor Hohns said on Tuesday, 3 December.

The only exclusion is opener Cameron Bancroft, who did not feature in the playing XI for either game against Pakistan. He will continue to be the standby batsman for the Perth pink-ball game.

James Pattinson, who faced a one-Test suspension in the Pakistan series, has been recalled as the reserve pacer alongside Michael Neser. Although a part of the squad, Neser will be released to play for Queensland in the Sheffield Shield.

"Michael will play for Queensland against New South Wales in the Marsh Sheffield Shield game at the SCG [beginning 7 December], as James did last week for Victoria," Hohns said.

"As we said prior to the Pakistan series we are striving to maintain a core group of players," he added. "The performance of the team against Pakistan was very impressive across all areas, while there is always some room to improve.”

The Perth Test begins on 12 December, and will be followed by the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the third and final Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, starting 3 January.

Squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), David Warner, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Matthew Wade.

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