Australia name Sayers, Bird for Test squad against Black Caps

Melbourne—Cricket Australia has named uncapped South Australia bowler Chadd Sayers and Tasmanian speedster Jackson Bird among the 14-man Australian Test squad announced on Wednesday for the upcoming New Zealand tour.

Sayers, who marked his presence in the Australian domestic 2012-13 season has played 38 first-class games and has picked 145 wickets including seven five-wicket hauls.

On the other hand, Bird has played in three Tests for Australia previously with his last appearance coming in the 2013 Ashes series in England. 

Sayers and Bird have replaced Steve O’Keefe and Scott Boland from the squad that played in the final Test against West Indies in Sydney.

The duo, along with James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle comprise of the pace department while Nathan Lyon will remain the lone spinner.

Making the announcement, Australian national selector Rod Marsh revealed that both Sayers and Bird have the ability to swing the ball without compromising on pace.

“We are delighted to welcome Chadd Sayers into the squad for the first time and his inclusion is thoroughly deserved,” said Marsh.

“Both he and Jackson Bird can swing the ball and operate at a lively pace and we believe both will be well suited to the conditions we are likely to encounter in New Zealand.”

Marsh also remained confident that both Siddle and Pattinson will be at their full fitness after a gruelling home season against New Zealand and West Indies.

“We are hopeful James Pattinson will be able to overcome the shin soreness he has been suffering with and continue the fine form he showed in this summer’s Tests when he bowled at good pace,

“While Peter Siddle is on the verge of playing again following the ankle injury he suffered during the West Indies series.”

The batting lineup is expected to remain the same which will be led by Steven Smith while Mitchell Marsh will take up the all-rounder slot and Peter Nevill will don the wicket-keeping role.

Australia will need to win the two-match series against New Zealand in order to regain the number one position in International Cricket Council Test rankings. 

Australia squad for Test series against New Zealand: Steven Smith (Skipper), David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Adam Voges, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Chadd Sayers, Jackson Bird.

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