MELBOURNE: Australian seamer Scott Boland will play the Boxing Day second Test against South Africa in Melbourne with an “underdone” Josh Hazlewood again missing out, captain Pat Cummins said Sunday.
Boland replaced injured fast bowler Hazlewood in the opening Test at Brisbane and was a key performer with his red-hot form making him virtually undroppable.
He is now assured of another Test on his home ground — where he took an incredible 6-7 on debut against England a year ago, cementing himself into Ashes folklore.
Cummins told reporters the team was unchanged from the side that won by six wickets inside two days on a hostile bowler-friendly Gabba pitch in Brisbane last week.
“We gave Joshy every chance, (but) it just got to a stage where (he) more than anyone else felt like he was a little bit underdone,” he said.
“It’s a mark of the man really, he himself said ‘don’t feel quite right’, so he kind of pulled himself out of selection.
“We talk a lot about how (as) a team we need a squad mentality, and I think it’s another great example.”
Hazlewood missed Australia’s last two Tests in Adelaide and Brisbane due to a side strain but had been training hard in the build-up to Melbourne, where hot and humid conditions are expected.
Boland has taken 25 wickets at 10.33 since his debut at the MCG a year ago and said Friday he was hoping his local knowledge would give him the edge over Hazlewood.
“We’re in a really good place with our fast-bowling stocks,” he said.
“We’ve said it over the last little bit that it’s going to take five, six, seven fast bowlers to get through five Tests here (at home), four in India and then another five or six in England (next year).
The Boxing Day Test will be David Warner’s 100th, with the opener striving to end a lean run that has seen some question his position in the side.
He is just 78 runs shy of 8,000 Test runs and has vowed to get back to his best.
“This might be a wicket where I can go out and play like the old me,” he said.
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland