“Australia Announces Playing XI for First Test Against New Zealand”

There are no surprises in Australia’s playing XI for the crucial World Test Championship contest in Wellington, as confirmed by skipper Pat Cummins. Veteran batter Steve Smith will continue to open the innings alongside Usman Khawaja, a role he has been fulfilling since the retirement of David Warner earlier this year.

Smith’s performance in the recent Test series against the West Indies showed a mix of results, with three failures followed by a valuable unbeaten 91 in the second innings in Brisbane.

Cummins announced that Australia will field an unchanged XI for the first Test against New Zealand at Basin Reserve, with Smith retaining his spot as opener. Additionally, both Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh have been confirmed as starters in the relatively new top six.

On the other hand, New Zealand will be forced to make changes to their side due to the absence of experienced opener Devon Conway, who is sidelined with a thumb injury sustained during the T20I series against Australia.

With New Zealand leading the ICC World Test Championship standings and Australia positioned third, both teams will aim for victory in the two-Test series to strengthen their position in the championship and secure a spot in the final.

Australia XI: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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