It’s great to see Head Coach Justin Langer promote one of their two experienced ODI batsmen a chance.

Aaron Finch and Travis Head will make their debuts for the Australian Test Team tomorrow in Dubai.

Finch will get a chance to showcase his big-hitting skills as if David Warner’s still batting on the right hand.

The same would go for Travis Head when it comes to batting at Four with a similar style of Steve Smith’s on the left.

Yes, the rebuilding phase will take some time where Smith, Bancroft & Warner fell apart in Cape Town six months back.

Hopefully, the promotions of these two players will make up lost time & move forward in getting used to life without these players.

It’s unsure at this time whether Matt Renshaw will be medically cleared to play tomorrow.

He suffered a cannon-ball knock to his head while fielding at short leg.

Thankfully & of course wearing a helmet, Renshaw’s okay.

But health is No.1 of any person to recover so Renshaw might not play tomorrow.

If that’s the case, then Shaun Marsh would be an ideal candidate to take up the opening spot.

Usman Khawaja is also one as mentioned by Simon Katich.

But it’s best that Khawaja would thrive in his preferred position at three than return to open as done in recent years.

Aaron Finch & Travis Head may not be the only debutants tomorrow.

With Marsh or Khawaja moving up the order, that would open up for Marnus Labuschagne to make his debut at Five.

Labuschagne’s established himself at Shield for a few years now for his state team, Queensland.

It’s the right time for Labuschagne to transfer what he learned from four-day cricket into a run machine at Test Match level.

Who will partner Mitchell Starc as the second frontline seamer tomorrow?

Well, Brendan Doggett would need a bit more time getting used to the environment that the other guys trained at this level.

Yes, he was a young prospect and done well for Australia A at recent times.

But he’s not ready yet.

Peter Siddle is back in the mix after a fantastic recent spell with Essex in England.

Having Siddle adding more than 62 caps to his name would help combined experience in the Australian bowling attack.

Yes, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are back healthy and fully fit.

But they have to play some of the domestic cricket to get much-needed game time ahead of a big home summer against:

  • South Africa (ODI & T20s)
  • India (ODI, T20s & Tests)
  • Sri Lanka (Tests)

So it’s best that they cannot risk too much workload from two of their quickies for now.

Otherwise, if they threw Hazlewood & Cummins into the UAE, then it’s much likely the consequences of injury would worsen.

And the Australian Team don’t want that.

Though, Siddle may not be the automatic pick heading into tomorrow.

Michael Neser may beat Siddle as Starc’s 2nd seaming partner.

Neser can offer all-around flexibility as he does a lot of the bowling workload alongside a bit of the bat.

Siddle can only do what he does best as a dedicated seamer which the workload is similar to Starc’s.

It’s some part of the area that Pat Cummins couldn’t carry right now.

Plus if Australia was to survive on flat tracks, it may be worth to have an extra batsman in the Starting XI.

Final Predicted XI

  1. Matt Renshaw (if fit)/Shaun Marsh
  2. Aaron Finch
  3. Usman Khawaja
  4. Travis Head
  5. Shaun Marsh/ Marnus Labuschagne
  6. Mitchell Marsh (Vice-Captain)
  7. Tim Paine (Captain/Wicket-Keeper)
  8. Michael Neser/Mitchell Starc
  9. Mitchell Starc/Peter Siddle
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jon Holland


If true, It’ll be the first time that Australia will carry four new players in 40 years since the split of World Series Cricket.

When Head & Labuschagne head out, it conveys that Australia has still plenty of talent to come through.

Based on the years proven at First-Class & Big Bash level, it’s exciting for the typical cricket fan themselves.

Neser will get a chance to showcase his all-rounder flexibility in the Pat Cummins-type role at Eight.

He’s established himself with Queensland & Brisbane Heat for a few years now plus finding some experience in the ODI setup.

Having a test cap to Neser’s name is a dream come true & develop his game to the next level.

So will Aaron Finch as the opener with his swashbuckling big-hitting shots which is similar to Dave Warner on the right.

Brendan Doggett would love to have the fifth Australian Test Debutant in-waiting.

But Doggett would need some time learning from Siddle & Starc in the nets.

Then Justin Langer knows that he has done his homework & ready to take his chance center stage when the time is right.


With a great job from Trevor Hohns & the selection group, Australia is confident in identifying the gaps out of the starting XI.

It will take time to gel after the events that shook the nation in Cape Town.

But with some of the talent coming through, they can make some amends & defy the odds in the UAE.

On the heart, it would be great for Australia to end a grueling run of nightmares in the subcontinent with a 2-0 whitewash.

Though, on the mind, it’ll be 1-1 against Pakistan who knows the home conditions & surface very well.

Good luck to both sides in the 1st Test from tomorrow.

Published by Sports Benches

Matthew Nicholas, the founder/blogger/vlogger on Sports Benches, is an aspiring cricket player & passionate sports fanatic who lives in Sydney, Australia.

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