Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Burns share the joy during a training session at the Gabba on Tuesday.   Picture: Darren England/AAP
Marnus Labuschagne and Joe Burns share the joy during a training session at the Gabba on Tuesday. Picture: Darren England/AAP

Starc, Head and Burns get the nod for first Test

JUSTIN Langer has confirmed Joe Burns' return as David Warner's opening partner for the first Test against Pakistan, while Travis Head is back in the middle order and paceman Mitchell Starc will play ahead of Michael Neser.

Yesterday, Australia coach Langer challenged Australia's new-look top order to go big against Pakistan at the Gabba, starting on Thursday, and set the tone for a century-laden summer.

It took until the sixth Test for an Australian to notch triple figures on home soil last season, while only Steve Smith and Matthew Wade managed the feat during the Ashes.

Confirming Burns recall ahead of Cameron Bancroft, Langer said he was confident the Queenslander's first Test as opener alongside Warner in three years was the initial step in removing fragility in a top six that was continually exposed during the Ashes.

"We're No.5 in the world in Test cricket at the moment and there's a reason for that," Langer said.

"One of them is that we don't score 300-plus in the first innings enough.

"We understand the spotlight on our batting at the moment and the boys have got to embrace that.

"What we need to do is to get our top three cemented ... I'm confident that the odd couple (Warner and Burns) will get out there and, like we've seen in the past, will form a really good partnership."

Langer said Starc's recall to join Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in the pace attack came with confidence in his ability to hit a "first-class length" more often to complement his searing yorker and bouncer.

And he said Head was in fine company after being left out of the final Ashes Test in England.

"He came back (from England) and scored a (Sheffield Shield) hundred. He's no orphan, we've all been dropped," he said.

"Every Australian player, except I think Adam Gilchrist has been dropped ... even Sir Donald Bradman was dropped early.

"Every player gets dropped and then you see if they come back stronger. "

Langer said Neser remained in the frame for a Test debut under lights in Adelaide and that the overlooked Usman Khawaja shouldn't consider his Test career over.

"I have great admiration for Uzzy. He's a fantastic player and I'm sure when he finds a bit of touch, he'll be pushing very hard for a place in the team," Langer said.

News Corp Australia


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