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Mitchell Johnson call rejected as Andrew McDonald hints at Aussie XI for first Test

The Aussie coach has given an indication of what the team will look like against Pakistan in Perth.

Andrew McDonald and Mitchell Johnson.
Andrew McDonald has hinted that Mitchell Johnson won't get his wish. Image: Getty

Andrew McDonald has revealed there will be no surprises in Australia's XI for the first Test against Pakistan, despite calls from Mitchell Johnson to unleash Lance Morris on his home deck. In his latest column over the weekend, Johnson said the Perth Test would be the perfect place to blood tearaway quick Morris.

“This summer is a great opportunity to blood some young or performing players, especially when it’s against two teams in Pakistan and the West Indies who have struggled in Australia for a decent period of time,” Johnson wrote for The West Australian. “Fast bowler Lance Morris, 25, should be the first of those. With Perth likely to present a fast and bouncy pitch, there would be no better place for the young tearaway to steam in for his Test debut."

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But coach McDonald revealed on Sunday that the Aussie XI would be very similar to what it has looked over the last 12 months, suggesting Morris won't be picked. While McDonald said he was impressed by what Morris produced at training with the Aussie squad, he forecast a predictable XI.

That means Morris will be kept on ice, with Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon to make up the bowling attack. "We saw Lance put a few (on) notice there, in particular Marnus (Labuschagne) - it was a good contest, a good hit-out," McDonald said of Sunday's centre wicket session. "How do I put this - it (the side) will look the same as it has before."

Lyon is set to play his first Test since injuring his calf in the Ashes series, which ruled him out of the final three matches of the drawn series. McDonald also said Starc was right to go after a number of injury niggles lingered throughout the recent ODI World Cup.

"His ability to get himself through the World Cup and then to present in really good order here has calmed our nerves around what the summer looks like," McDonald said. "At the end of the Ashes, there might have been some concerns about how much he could take on during the summer, but (he has) presented himself in really good order.

"(I am) really confident he'll progress through the summer as he normally goes. That's a long way behind all of us and really looking forward to the West Test."

Lance Morris.
Lance Morris at an Australian team training session ahead of the first Test against Pakistan. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Andrew McDonald says Aussies felt Nathan Lyon's absence

The coach opened up on the impact Lyon's absence had on the Aussie team for the remainder of the Ashes. "I'm glad someone noticed we were missing him in the last three Test matches," McDonald said.

"He flies under the radar in conversations at times. But we're happy to have him, every time he plays. Externally, at times, he's not recognised as much as he should be.

"It was a huge loss when he went down. It destabilised what we'd normally do. He's been down the other end to those quicks for 100 Tests - important, the way we want to operate.

"He can tie up and end, he can be aggressive when he wants to be, but he makes that attack work, no doubt about that. When he wasn't there, we went through some periods of instability ... at times, we looked as though we could manage that. At other times, we didn't."

McDonald also continued to deflect questions about who would replace David Warner when he retires after the third Test of the summer, saying there is no hurry in making that significant call. "There's always going to be speculation about who opens when Davey goes - we have time to make that decision," McDonald said.

"For us, it's gathering information and making the decision when we need to make the decision, so that's as simple as it gets. We have no firm views on it at the moment."

with AAP

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