Australia win toss and choose to bat, Boult ruled out by injury
PERTH- Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat in the first test at Perth Stadium on Thursday, backing his in-form batting lineup to expose a New Zealand attack weakened by the absence of spearhead Trent Boult.
Both teams will wear black armbands as a tribute to the victims of New Zealand’s White Island volcano eruption.
The tourists were dealt a major blow for the day-nighter when Boult failed to overcome a side strain.
Uncapped fast bowler Lockie Ferguson will make his test debut on a Perth pitch that is expected to be fast, bouncy and reminiscent of the nearby WACA in its heyday.
Experienced batsman Ross Taylor and all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme have both overcome injury concerns, however.
“We were going to have a bat too … hopefully we can get a bit of side movement first up,” said New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson.
“Trent wasn’t quite right so Lockie comes in. And, a really exciting opportunity for him making his test debut. I hope he does really well and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.”
Australia will send out the same lineup for the third straight test after starting the home season with a dominating 2-0 win over Pakistan that featured innings victories in Brisbane and Adelaide.
“The wicket looks pretty good and it’s hot,” said Australia captain Tim Paine.
“The kiwis are the second best team in the world at the moment and our group’s looking forward to that challenge.”
Temperatures are expected to soar to 40 degrees Celsius on the first four days of the match.
New Zealand has only won one test in Australia since their sole series triumph across the Tasman Sea in 1985-86.
After Perth, the series shifts to the traditional Boxing Day test in Melbourne before concluding with the New Year’s test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
(Content and photos syndicated via Reuters)