Langer puts pres­sure on bats­men to per­form

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - MURRAY WEN­ZEL (AAP)

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.

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