Australia Test squad: Michael Neser makes way while skipper Pat Cummins confirms return against South Africa

Star fast bowler Pat Cummins has confirmed his return from a quad injury to captain Australia in the first Test against South Africa at the Gabba.

Cummins, replacing hapless Queenslander Michael Neser, is the only change in the Australian XI from last week’s 419-run thumping by the West Indies.

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The 29-year-old missed the Adelaide Test for the second straight season after suffering an injury against the Windies in Perth.

But Cummins has looked back at his normal self during bowling practice during the three days Australia had in Brisbane ahead of Saturday’s much-anticipated first Test.

“I feel great,” Cummins said on Friday. “I feel fresher than I’ve ever felt in a test series.

“I’m at 100 percent, had a few bowls and I’m ready to go.”

Pat Cummins and South Africa captain Dean Elgar (l) with the series trophy before the first test. Recognition: AAP

The Gabba has traditionally had one of the more pace-friendly pitches in world cricket and the curators have once again produced a grass-covered course.

The sight of a potential green monster will excite both bowling attacks, with some of Test cricket’s best pacesetters on display.

“A couple of the guys said it was similar to what they’ve seen here in the past,” Cummins said.

“It looks like there’s some grass there. So we’ll see how it looks (on the throw before we make a decision).

“It always looks pretty green here a few days in advance, but then it looks a bit different in the morning of the first day.”

The clash will be Australia’s first Test against the Proteas since the ill-fated 2018 tour of South Africa, best remembered for the ball-tampering scandal.

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Cummins believes the Australian team’s approach has changed significantly over the past four and a half years.

“I don’t think we’re likely to be as aggressive as we’ve been in the past…it’s working for us,” he said.

“How we play off the field is pretty similar to what we play on the field – calm, very relaxed, just enjoying it, really competitive.

“We’ve done really well over the last 12 months. Whatever is thrown at us will not change that.”

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (Captain), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

– AAP

Australian GP stays in Melbourne until 2037.

Australian GP stays in Melbourne until 2037.

https://7news.com.au/sport/cricket/michael-neser-makes-way-as-australian-skipper-pat-cummins-confirms-return-for-first-test-against-south-africa-c-9182893 Australia Test squad: Michael Neser makes way while skipper Pat Cummins confirms return against South Africa

James Brien

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