Langer puts pressure on batsmen to perform
JUSTIN Langer has challenged Australia’s batting unit to “embrace the spotlight” and set the tone for a centuryladen summer in Brisbane.
It took until the sixth Test for an Australian to notch triple-figures on home soil last season, while only Steve Smith and Matthew Wade managed the feat during the Ashes.
Omitted from the Ashes series, Joe Burns will return to the top of the order to partner David Warner against Pakistan tomorrow, while Mitchell Starc and Travis Head were also locked in for recalls by coach Langer yesterday.
Pakistan’s exciting pace attack will test Australia at the Gabba and Langer has put it to his top six to respond after failing to pass 300 in the first innings of seven of their 11 Tests in the past 12 months.
“We’re No.5 in the world in Test cricket at the moment and there’s a reason for that,” Langer said. “One of them is that we don’t score 300-plus in the first innings enough. We understand the spotlight on our batting and the boys have to embrace that.”
Burns has four centuries from 16 Tests — including a career-best 180 in his last game — and averages 47.25 in the first innings for Australia.
“He’s got a very good first innings record and I know Davey likes batting with him,” Langer said of Burns.
“Batsmen are judged on if they score hundreds or not and they’re all aspiring to that ... we’re programmed to want to score hundreds and more we score the more times we’ll win games of cricket.”
Langer said Starc’s recall to join Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in the pace attack came with confidence in his ability to hit a “first-class length” more often to complement his yorker and bouncer.