Battling rookie batsman Nic Maddinson has received a Christmas Day lifeline, with selectors confirming an unchanged lineup for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the MCG.
There had been strong speculation Maddinson would be dropped having scored a total of just five runs from three innings for the Australian Test team.
In the first Test against South Africa at the Adelaide Oval in November, Maddinson scored 0 and 1 in his two appearances at the crease.
He was dropped from the team for the remainder of that series, then followed up with just 4 runs in one innings against Pakistan at the Gabba last week, after being called up to the side once again.
Speculation was rife that Maddinson would be dropped for the Boxing Day Test in favour of uncapped West Australian all-rounder Hilton Cartwright, but selectors have opted to stick with the team that beat Pakistan in the first Test in Brisbane.
“We brought the all-rounder into the squad because the bowlers had a pretty heavy workload but they’ve pulled up well and they’re confident they can get through,” Australian captain Steve Smith said on Sunday.
‘We don’t need any help’: Bird
The decision came after paceman Jackson Bird urged selectors to stick with the lineup from the first Test against Pakistan.
He said the current crop of bowlers, including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and spinner Nathan Lyon, were doing a “good job”.
Bird, Starc and Hazlewood bowled 113 overs between them in hot conditions as Pakistan mounted a stirring second-innings fight back that saw them fall just 40 runs short of the mammoth target of 490.
But Bird said he was unfazed by the workload.
“It’s our job to bowl a lot of overs and do the hard work … it’s what we’re paid to do as professional cricketers and especially as fast bowlers,” Bird told reporters after a net session at the MCG on Saturday.
“That’s why we do all the hard work with fitness and weights. I think things can sometimes get blown out of proportion a little bit. It’s part and parcel of being a fast bowler.
“It probably would take a bit of the workload off us if we did have Hilton as a fifth bowling option but I think us three quicks and Nathan Lyon have been doing a good job.
“We’ve won the last two Test matches and I’m not sure why they’d change that.”
Bird bowled 45 overs in the first Test, which he said was about what he had been averaging at Sheffield Shield level over the past 12 months.
– with AAP