Australia pick uncapped batsman Pucovski to face Sri Lanka

Will Pucovski

Australia have named uncapped batsman Will Pucovski in their Test squad to play Sri Lanka, while brothers Shaun and Mitchell Marsh have been left out.

Pucovski, 20, has only played eight first-class matches but scored 243 for Victoria last month.

Aaron Finch and Peter Handscomb have also been dropped following Australia’s series defeat by India, with batsmen Matt Renshaw and Joe Burns recalled.

Australia play two Tests against Sri Lanka, starting on 24 January.

Batsman Shaun Marsh has been dropped after scoring just one fifty in four matches against India as the tourists won a Test series in Australia for the first time.

Marsh, 35, has not scored a century since the fifth Ashes Test against England in January 2018.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, 27, was named Test vice-captain in September but was dropped for the first two Tests against India last month.

He was then booed by the Australian crowd when he was recalled for the Boxing Day Test before being left out again for the fourth Test in Sydney.

Finch played as an opener in the first three Tests against India but struggled with an average of 16.16.

Fellow batsman Handscomb was picked for the first two Tests, dropped for the third after failing to pass 50 in four innings, then recalled again for the final Test, where he made 37, only to now be left out again.

Renshaw and Burns, who have 11 and 14 Test caps respectively, played their most recent Tests in March 2018 against South Africa.

The series against Sri Lanka is Australia’s last before the Ashes contest in England, which starts in August.

I’m in a really good space – Pucovski

Pucovski’s 243 – his second first-class hundred – came against Western Australia in the Sheffield Shield in October, but shortly afterwards he took an “indefinite break” from cricket for treatment on a mental health-related illness.

He returned in December and after his Test call-up said he felt as good as he had done in a “really long time”.

“I feel like I’m in a really good space and the people I’m working with think so as well,” he said.

“It’s one of those things where it is a day-by-day proposition for me that I have to manage. I think it is a good thing to invest time in.

“I am meditating every morning, which I honestly never really believed in until [his mindfulness coach Emma Murray] got me on to it and things like that have helped me really turn things around.”

Australia squad for first Test against Sri Lanka: Tim Paine (c/wk), Josh Hazlewood, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.

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BBC Sport – Cricket

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