Australia confirm playing XI for first Test against New Zealand

No surprises in Australia's XI for the crucial World Test Championship contest in Wellington.

Veteran batter Steve Smith will continue to partner Usman Khawaja at the top of Australia's batting order as skipper Pat Cummins confirmed his playing XI for the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.

Smith has been deployed as opener since the retirement of David Warner earlier this year and produced some mixed performances during Australia's most recent Test series against the West Indies as the experienced right-hander failed on three occasions before hitting a valuable 91* in the second innings against the Caribbean side in Brisbane.

Usman Khawaja - ICC Men's Test Cricketer of the Year | ICC Awards 2023

Cummins revealed Australia will name an unchanged XI for the first Test against the Kiwis that commences at Basin Reserve on Thursday, with Smith named at the top of the batting order and both Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh confirmed starters within a relatively new top six.

New Zealand will be forced to make changes to their side that defeated South Africa earlier this month, with experienced opener Devon Conway (thumb) out injured courtesy of an issue he picked up during the T20I series against the Aussies.

The Kiwis currently lead the ICC World Test Championship standings, while Australia are third and will be keen to defeat their trans-Tasman rivals in the two-Test series and move into the box seat for a second consecutive appearance in the final.

Australia XI: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

NewsWorld Test Championship