Boxing Day Test: Victorian fast bowler Scott Boland retains place on Hazlewood | Australia Cricket

Boxing Day Test hero Scott Boland has retained his place in Australia’s bowling star attack and will line up at the MCG against South Africa.

The speedy Victorian will return to the scene from his famous Test debut last December, with Australia coaches opting for Boland over Josh Hazlewood, who continues his recovery from side strain.

Captain Pat Cummins has confirmed Australia will stay with the same XI that crushed the Proteas by six wickets in just two days in the first Test at the Gabba.

“We gave Joshy every chance, he just got to a stage where Joshy more than anyone probably thought he was a little underrated,” Cummins told the MCG on Sunday.

“It’s probably the mark of the man that he himself thought, ‘I’m not feeling quite well’ and withdrew from selection.

“We talk a lot about how that’s a team mentality, and that’s another great example.”

Boland took 25 wickets in his five Tests at the miserly average of 10.36.

The 33-year-old became an instant Australian cricket cult hero when he cruised through England 6-7 at the MCG last year to earn man of the match honors on his debut to help Australia to keep the Ashes.

Boland told reporters on Friday he remained uncertain about his position in the XI, with Hazlewood – a fixture in the Australian attack for nearly a decade – pushing to return.

Cummins said it would have been tough had Hazlewood declared himself fully fit.

“There would have been a part of everyone who would have felt a little aggrieved if Scotty had missed,” Cummins said.

“Here at the MCG, I was thinking [Boland’s 2021 Ashes performance] was never meant to repeat itself and it seems like every Test match he plays he has those moments – so hopefully I get more of those here.

“[It’s] great to have a victorian here. Last year, pretty much the highlight of the summer for all of us was that MCG test and the reception Scotty received.

Australia will be set to claim their first Test series victory against South Africa at home since 2005-06 by leading 2-0 at the MCG.

Veteran fly-half David Warner will become just the 14th Australian to play 100 Tests when he lines up against the Proteas.

The southpaw hopes his scoring game will lead to runs in red ball format. He hasn’t scored a century try since January 2020.

Warner hopes to continue playing Tests until at least the end of the 2023 Ashes series, but his form – he is averaging just 20.61 this year – has become a major concern for Australia at the top of the list. .

“Davey is such a wonderful team man, he gives so much love and camaraderie to the group that we bypass him,” Cummins said.

“We just listen to him, to make sure we’re in his corner and supporting him like we always have.

“To his credit, he’s been fantastic with the band all summer…he’ll go down as one of the greatest of all time.”

South African batters aim to rally at MCG

South Africa’s worst-performing order has returned to the drawing board, aiming to fill its end of the bargain in the Boxing Day Test.

Captain Dean Elgar confirmed at least one change in his team’s batting roster, but did not confirm who was in or out until Monday’s draw at the MCG.

While Elgar hails his attacking pace as the best in the world, South Africa are not making enough runs to give bowlers a realistic chance.

They have only scored over 400 once this year, against Bangladesh.

Their woes were on full display on Gabba’s green top earlier this month as Australia won by six wickets in two days.

“Our build up in Brisbane has been brilliant, we had two weeks where the guys were batting pretty well,” said the fly-half, who was fired for three and two at the Gabba.

“It’s a bit of a glitch that we had [at] the Gabba. But both batting units had that except one batter [Travis Head’s 92 for Australia].

“Going back to the drawing board, that was the most important thing for us and trying to simplify things, make guys aware of some things that they might have overlooked.”

The absurdly short test also shed light on Gabba’s wicket, which the International Cricket Council rated below average.

Elgar said the MCG ground was firming up nicely as the weather in Melbourne improved.

“Hopefully that’s in the past and never happens again,” he said of the first Test game.

For all of South Africa’s problems in Brisbane, Australia were 4-35 in their second innings as the tourists’ pace attack tried to score a run.

Elgar was asked if that early collapse was likely to have left Australia with mental scars ahead of the second Test.

“I really do, yes. I’ve always been a big expert in our bowling unit,” he said.

“I always say I’d rather face them in the net for a short time than face them in the middle because I know what they can bring to the table.

“So hopefully those four wickets on day two created some demons…we’ll see.”

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