ANI Photo | Australia announce playing XI for first Test against New Zealand

Seasoned batter Steve Smith will continue to open Australia’s batting order with Usman Khawaja as captain Pat Cummins announced his playing XI for the first Test against New Zealand in Wellington.
Smith has been kept as an opener since veteran batter David Warner’s retirement earlier this year, and his performance in Australia’s most recent Test series against the West Indies was mixed, with the professional right-hander failing three times before hitting a valuable 91* in the second innings in Brisbane.
Cummins revealed that Australia would choose an unchanged XI for the first Test against the Kiwis, which begins on Thursday at Basin Reserve, with Smith at the top of the batting order and Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh definitely starting in a relatively fresh top six.
The last time Australia used a different attack was in the last Test of the Ashes series at The Oval, when Todd Murphy filled in for injured spinner Nathan Lyon.
New Zealand will be forced to make changes to their squad that overcame South Africa earlier this month, with seasoned opener Devon Conway (thumb) out due to an injury sustained during the T20I series against Australia.
The Kiwis presently top the ICC World Test Championship rankings, while Australia is third and will be looking to overcome their trans-Tasman opponents in the two-Test series and go to the final for the second time in a row.
Australia XI: Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood. (ANI)

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