Victorian express quick James Pattinson is set to be unleashed on New Zealand in the Boxing Day Test, with coach Justin Langer looking forward to watching him bowl at the MCG.
Langer raised eyebrows when he brought veteran quick Peter Siddle into Australia’s 13-man squad last week, but the coach has confirmed Pattinson will get the nod ahead of Michael Neser and Siddle.
“I am really looking forward to seeing Patto bowl and bowl well in this Boxing Day Test, which is his home ground as well,” Langer told 6PR on Saturday.
James Pattinson was 12th man in the last game and I hope what I have shown in the last 18 months is that we have been really consistent in our selection.
“He’s been unlucky. He only played a couple of Tests in the Ashes and he is so hungry like Mitchell Starc.
“The way he has come back from playing (two) Tests in the Ashes has just been brilliant.”
The Aussies will be looking to wrap up the three-Test series following their emphatic 296-run win in Perth.
But Langer is expecting an arm wrestle from the Kiwis, who traditionally struggle on the bouncier wickets in Perth.
The MCG pitch is an unknown quantity heading into the match, with curator Matt Page under fire following the unsafe surface that saw a recent Sheffield Shield game at the ground abandoned.
But Langer shares the confidence of Cricket Australia pitch guru Les Burdett, who has given Page’s preparations his seal of approval.
“I know they are going to be under some pressure, there is no doubt about that,” he said. “But I also know that Matt Page is an incredibly hard worker.
“They got it wrong in the last Shield game, but they were getting it right for the two Shield games before.
“He’ll have some nervous nights Pagey, but I am confident he will get a good wicket up.”