Test Cricket: Captain Tim Paine & Head Coach Justin Langer named Australia’s Starting XI for Tomorrow’s First Test v Pakistan in Dubai

While the first semi-final of the One-Day Cup played out, Skipper Tim Paine & Coach Justin Langer fronted the media.

They now have finalized their starting XI that will face Pakistan tomorrow in Dubai.

Opening Batsmen Spots

As always Aaron Finch will have his chance to showcase his swashbuckling big hitters on the right.

Joining Finch will be Usman Khawaja.

It’s right to rest Matt Renshaw after getting a blow into the head while at slip earlier this week in a warm-up match.

Not too much surprised that Khawaja will open rather than at 3.

Think it’s ideal for subcontinental purposes if you’re looking at the warm conditions and flat tracks.

So Khawaja will return where he started a few years ago as the Opening Batsman rather than persist at Three.

Top Order

With the injury from Renshaw, Shaun Marsh will shuffle in Khawaja’s old spot.

So will his brother Mitchell Marsh at Four.

Remember M. Marsh has improved his batting across the 2017-18 Ashes Summer on home soil.

His promotion will give plenty of opportunities to let the bat do the talking and convert into a free-flowing run machine.

Surprising to see him move up the order.

But he’s one of the senior players in and around the Australian Test Squad.

Fair enough to put an established all-rounder at the top order.

Middle Order

Both debutants Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne will go at Five & Six respectively.

Good to throw them from the base end where they will need to build some runs out from scratch.

Not too much risk putting them at the top order which is a standard may be too high at this stage.

Tim Paine will, of course, looking to continue his impressive glovework & bat as the Skipper at Seven.

Lower Order

Mitchell Starc (Seamer) and Nathan Lyon (Spinner) both bat a bit of the workload through Eight & Nine.

And you got both Victorian bowlers round out the Starting XI.

Peter Siddle comes back to add his 62 Test Caps as the second frontline seamer behind Starc.

On the other hand, Jon Holland will back up Lyon with his left arm orthodox.

Australia’s Official 1st Test Starting XI

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


Refreshing and balanced of youth and experience in the Australian Starting XI.

Surprising to see some move around through the recent events such as Renshaw’s concussion.

But good to give the experienced guys come up first before the youngsters come in.

It’s an excellent spot for Head & Labuschagne to start from the first step & make runs in the middle order.

Learn what they’ve done at First-Class level and go from there.

Even it’s a 50 or 100 on debut; it’s all about getting through the basics.

It’ll take time as Head & Labuschagne are new to Test Cricket.

But sure that they’ll both use the rewards to try and stamp their spots in the long-haul through merit.

And it’s good to balance out a few seamers & spinners:


  • Mitchell Starc
  • Peter Siddle
  • Mitchell Marsh


  • Nathan Lyon, Off-Spin
  • Jon Holland, Left-Arm Orthodox
  • Travis Head, Off-Spin (Part-Timer)

It balances out the workload pretty nicely regarding the bowling department.

You never know as they’ll see what the pitch in Dubai looks like then plan their tactics.

Apart from that, they’re all ready to go & win the Two-Match Test Series before returning on home soil by November.

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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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