Langer drops major selection hint

Australia coach Justin Langer has strongly hinted towards an unchanged XI for the second Test against Sri Lanka, starting Friday.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis was added to the squad after the first Test and shaped as a potential Test debutant in Canberra as a fifth bowling option.

But selectors appear set to resist the temptation of Stoinis by making no changes to the team that crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs at the Gabba.

“My inkling and gut feeling is it’s always nice to keep the same XI after you’ve had a win” Langer told SEN’s Whateley on Thursday morning.

A final decision is expected to be made Thursday afternoon after another pitch inspection, but Langer said early indications suggest there’s no need for change.

“Yesterday there was some grass [on the wicket] but they were spending some time on the roller,” he said.

“We’ll have a look at it this afternoon and if there’s that little bit of grass on it I’d be surprised if we changed the team.”

Stoinis was the only addition to the squad after the first Test, replacing opener Matt Renshaw who has since returned to BBL duty.

The only other men on the bench are young gun Will Pucovski, and veteran bowler Peter Siddle who is expected to run the drinks once more despite growing pressure on Mitchell Starc.

Starc has attracted a growing number of critics for his lacklustre summer, with some calling for him to give the new ball to Pat Cummins while others have suggested he should be dropped altogether.

But Langer poured cold water on both suggestions on Thursday, saying Cummins is unlikely to open the bowling in the second Test.

“He’s done a great job bowling first change for us,” he told the program.

“It’s always nice when Starcy gets the ball to swing, we saw that during the India series, if he gets the ball to swing back in to the right-handers … he can be really dangerous.

“Jhye Richardson as well swings the ball and was excellent with the new ball in Brisbane so we will wait and see.

“I’d be surprised if we changed that combination actually.”

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