Aussies to go unchanged in Boxing Day Test

Oliver Caffrey
·2-min read

Australia will take an unchanged line-up into the Boxing Day Test as they seek to go 2-0 up against India.

With David Warner (groin) still unavailable, Justin Langer declared he would be a brave coach to tinker with the side for the MCG blockbuster after Australia secured a resounding eight-wicket victory in Adelaide.

Joe Burns, who entered the series under-fire, will again partner Matthew Wade at the top of the order after the Queenslander's unbeaten 51 in the second innings last Saturday.

"I would be a pretty courageous man to change the XI for this Test match after the last one," Langer said.

"Unless something happens over the next few days, and they can happen in the world we live in, we'll go in with the same XI."

But when star opener Warner is available, likely to be for the third Test starting on January 7, someone in the top six will have to make way.

Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are locks, leaving Wade, Burns, Travis Head and emerging allrounder Cameron Green vulnerable.

"You are literally under the pump every time you play for Australia," Langer said.

"Every player is, that's how it should be. It's so healthy for Australian cricket.

"It's tough when you're in the top-six batters because you've always got people knocking hard on your door to take your spot, so you've got to be on your toes all the time.

"These things have a funny way of working themselves out and the guys who are making runs, they'll keep getting selected."

A crowd of up to 30,000 will be in on Boxing Day - the first time spectators have been allowed into the MCG since the Australian women's team won the Twenty20 World Cup final in March.

While the atmosphere will be different to a normal Melbourne Test, where up to 90,000 people fill the stadium, Langer is just happy to be at the MCG at all.

"30,000 is better than none. It wasn't that long ago, probably a few months ago, we wondered whether we would have a Boxing Day Test in Melbourne," he said.

"Every time I come here, I pinch myself. It's just an amazing stadium.

"There's so much hype about it and the boys love playing here."