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Michael Neser has been selected to join Australia's Test squad for their upcoming tour of New Zealand.
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Michael Neser has been selected to join Australia’s Test squad for their upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Australian all-rounder Michael Neser has been selected for the Test squad for the upcoming red-ball tour of New Zealand, marking the team’s return to the country after an eight-year absence.

Neser is the sole new member of the team following Australia’s Test matches against Pakistan and West Indies this season. Lance Morris has been ruled out due to an injury sustained during Tuesday’s ODI.

The Queenslander, who is 33 years old, last participated in two Tests in December 2022. However, he has consistently been a part of the red-ball team for the past five years.

“According to George Bailey, the chair of selectors for Australia, it is wonderful to witness Michael Neser being given another chance in the squad due to his consistently impressive performances over an extended period of time, as well as meeting the expected conditions.”

We are aware that each Test match presents important chances to earn significant points for the WTC [World Test Championship]. We anticipate that this tour will be a difficult test against a formidable opponent who has shown great consistency at their home ground for an extended period.

Despite suffering an injury scare during a recent Sheffield Shield match, Victoria’s Scott Boland will still be joining the 14-man Test squad. He underwent scans on his knee but was able to bowl in the second innings and will be closely monitored.

The teams from Australia and New Zealand will initially compete in three T20 international matches before facing off in a two-game Test series scheduled in Wellington and Christchurch.

This week, Cricket Australia announced a group of 15 players for the upcoming T20 matches. Travis Head, Steve Smith, and Matt Short are competing to join David Warner as the opening batsman for the T20 World Cup in West Indies and the United States. Despite a minor rib injury, fast bowler Nathan Ellis was included in the squad, while Brisbane Heat’s promising quick, Spencer Johnson, was named as backup.

Unless there are injuries to Australia’s top pace bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood, it is unlikely that test specialists Neser and 34-year-old Boland will be included in the lineup against the Black Caps. While the trio appeared in all five Tests this season, they were given a break during the recent ODI series against West Indies.

The excitement for this highly-anticipated series has increased greatly since the Black Caps’ dominant 281-run victory over a weakened South African team at Mount Maunganui. This win moved them ahead of Australia on the World Test Championship standings, giving them the opportunity to widen their lead in the upcoming second Test against South Africa in Hamilton on Tuesday.

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New Zealand has not achieved a Test series victory over Australia on their home ground since the single match in 1990 and suffered a 2-0 defeat in 2015-16.

In the second Test of the Trans-Tasman trophy, Ross Taylor from New Zealand achieved the highest score ever recorded, with a total of 290 runs in the second innings. This surpassed the previous record of 253 runs, which was set by Warner in the same Test.

The Black Caps will receive a boost with the comeback of speedy bowler Kyle Jamieson and former captain Kane Williamson, who achieved centuries in both innings against South Africa. Williamson has tallied six centuries in six Tests and has maintained an average of 96 since 2020.

The members of the Australia Test squad include Pat Cummins as captain, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, and Mitchell Starc.

Source: theguardian.com