Kurtis Patterson, the left-hander who played a vital part for the Australia U-19 team during the 2012 edition, slammed 157* and 102* in the warm-up game for Cricket Australia against Sri Lanka in Hobart. Although this match did not have First-Class status, Greg Chappell, the national selector and Australia skipper Tim Paine were in attendance and impressed by the knocks, Patterson was drafted as the 14th member of the Australia side for the two-Tests against Sri Lanka. National selector Trevor Hohns said Patterson had been "pushing his case for selection for some time". "We have been asking batters around the country to score hundreds if they want to be considered for selection. Given Kurtis' consistent performances for NSW and his two unbeaten centuries in last week's tour match against our upcoming opponent, Sri Lanka, we believe he deserves to be added to the Test squad,” Hohns said in a statement.
Australia had a poor Test series with the bat against India and no Australian reached triple figures at home in a series of four Tests or more for the first time since 1882-83. They also lost a Test series at home to an Asian nation for the first time. Patterson’s performances are a continuation of the consistency he has shown in the last couple of games, where he smashed 107* and 43 against Western Australia and 45 against South Australia playing for New South Wales. Earlier, Patterson had scored 167 in a New South Wales Premier Cricket Game.
Speaking about his selection to ESPNCricinfo, Patterson said he had no expectations coming out of the game in Hobart. “You want to be picked when playing well and I feel I am. Obviously, there's some hard work to be done this week, but if I get that opportunity, I'll be really looking forward to it,” Patterson said.
Patterson’s addition continues the selection of a new crop of batsmen in the Test squad following the bans on Steve Smith and David Warner. Will Puckovski, Marnus Labuschange and Marcus Harris are the new bunch of youngsters to get a chance in the series against Sri Lanka which will begin with the Day-Night Test in Brisbane on Thursday. The series will end with the second Test at Australia’s newest Test venue in Canberra.
For Sri Lanka, they will be aiming to break their jinx Down Under and secure their first-ever win in a Test in Australia. However, they have been in woeful form heading to Australia, having not won a single game in New Zealand and recently being whitewashed 3-0 at home against England. Their chances have taken a bigger hit with seamer Nuwan Pradeep ruled out of the series due to a hamstring injury.
Pradeep, who has been suffering from hamstring injuries and has not played a Test since October 2017, bowled only two overs and did not play any further part in the warm-up game in Hobart and scans revealed a grade one strain on his hamstring muscle, putting him in doubt even for the three Tests against South Africa after the Australia tour.