1st test: New Zealand wins toss, bats vs Australia

Associated Press

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — New Zealand captain Ross Taylor won the toss and elected to bat Thursday in the series-opening match against an Australian team that will have three players on test debut.

Australia had five front-line players ruled out last week, including pace spearhead Mitch Johnson for up to five months with a damaged left foot.

Pacemen James Pattinson and left-armer Mitchell Starc and opening batsman David Warner were presented with their Australian baggy green caps by ex-test players Andy Bichel, Richie Benaud and Michael Slater an hour before play.

Pattinson and Starc will support Peter Siddle in a three-man pace attack. With spinner Nathan Lyon the only other specialist bowler in the lineup, the Australian attack boasts a total of just 32 test caps and is the most inexperienced in decades.

Warner will open the innings with Phil Hughes in the absence of allrounder Shane Watson.

Michael Clarke will be leading Australia into a test series on home soil for the first time since replacing Ricky Ponting as captain after the World Cup quarterfinal exit in March.

In the meantime, Australia has appointed its first foreign head coach — former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur — and a new selection panel.

Australia hasn't lost a test at the Gabba since 1988 and hasn't lost a test on home soil to New Zealand since 1985.

Taylor is leading a New Zealand team also in the midst of rebuilding. The return of 108-test veteran and former captain Daniel Vettori to the lineup in place of young paceman Trent Boult is the only change to the Black Caps lineup which dominated a tour match against Australia A at the Allan Border Field on the weekend.

Fast bowling allrounder Doug Bracewell, the 21-year-old nephew of former New Zealand allrounder and coach John Bracewell, earned his second cap after an impressive debut in the win over Zimbabwe last month, where he collected six wickets in a lifeless pitch at Bulawayo.

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Lineups:

Australia: Phillip Hughes, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke (captain), Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson.

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor (captain), Jesse Ryder, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Vettori, Reece Young, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Chris Martin.

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