Australia win toss and bat against New Zealand

Perth, Australia, Dec 12 (AFP/APP): Australian captain Tim Paine won the toss and chose to bat in the first Test against New Zealand in Perth on Thursday, with the visitors missing injured star paceman Trent Boult.

Scorching heat is predicted for the day-night clash, with temperatures forecast to exceed 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on the first four days.

Paine said the heat played a big part in his decision to bat — as did the fifth Test loss during the Ashes against England, when he chose to bowl.

“It’s very hot,” he said. “And when I won the toss at the Oval and bowled I promised myself I wouldn’t bowl first again.”

The home team stuck with the same side for the third Test in succession.

Ranked second in the world, New Zealand were unable to select Boult due to a side strain, with Lockie Ferguson called up for his debut.

“We were going to have a bat as well,” New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said.

“Obviously with the warm temperatures around and the nature of the surface because it does tend to crack.

“But at the same time there has been a lot of water put in it so hopefully we can get some sideways movement first up.”

The two sides observed a minute’s silence before the game to honour the victims of the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand, with the number of people believed to have died in Monday’s disaster now standing at 16.

Australia: David Warner, Joe Burns, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Neil Wagner

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Nigel Llong (ENG)

TV umpire: Paul Wilson (AUS)

Match referee: Richie Richardson (WIN)

Australia stick to winning formula for New Zealand

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