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Other SportsSmith to open for Australia in Test cricket

Smith to open for Australia in Test cricket

Australia have taken the surprise decision to replace the retiring David Warner with Steve Smith as Test opener.

Warner stepped away from the Test arena at the conclusion of the Sydney Test against Pakistan, leaving a gap at the top of the order.

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Smith has carved out a reputation as one of the world’s great middle-order batters – he averages over 58 in Tests –  but has never opened in 167 first-class games.

He will, however, form half of a new opening partnership alongside Usman Khawaja when Australia take on the West Indies in Adelaide on January 17.

Chairman of selectors George Bailey said: “There were plenty within the team who were pretty keen to go on record and say that they weren’t keen to do it.

“So it was refreshing that Steve had come forward and said he wanted it.

“It was something that we’d been chatting about in the background as a selection panel with the coaches as well.

“It’s selfless that someone who’s had such success in one position or a couple of positions in the middle order is open and willing and hungry to go and have a crack at something new and something different.”

Cameroon Green will come in at number four with Bailey confirming Smith would be given time to adjust to his new role.

He added: “That’s been part of the discussions I believe with Steve, that he’s keen for this to be a significant chapter in his career. 

“As far as the panel goes, I think we’ve been pretty consistent in saying that we don’t look too far ahead. We’ve obviously got these two Test matches against the West Indies. We go to New Zealand, different conditions, different challenge. We’ll have more information then. 

“We’ve clearly got a big gap between Test cricket and then India over the summer. But for all intents and purposes, this is where Steve wants to stay.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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