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Lehmann wants continuity in Aussie Test XI

AAP logoAAP 28/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

Australia's recent debutants have a chance to carve out 10-year Test careers, but Darren Lehmann won't start dealing in guarantees or golden tickets.

Matt Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson all debuted in Australia's recent day-night Test against South Africa at Adelaide Oval.

Renshaw and Handscomb secured a seven-wicket victory, marking just the second Test in the history of cricket to be won with two debutants at the crease.

It was reward for a shift in thinking from a new-look selection panel, empowered and encouraged to look to the future by Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland following chairman Rod Marsh's sudden resignation.

The challenge now for 20-year-old Renshaw, 25-year-old Handscomb and 24-year-old Maddinson is simple: stay in the team.

It will be easier said than done, especially with Shaun Marsh (broken finger) approaching the end of his stint on the sidelines.

Marsh may not be ready for the first Test against Pakistan, which starts in Brisbane on December 15, but should definitely be fit for the Boxing Day Test.

Marsh's availability will put selectors in an awkward position. The West Australian has averaged 82.6 with the bat from his past three Tests but at age 33 would comfortably become the oldest member of the XI.

Maddinson would seemingly be at greatest risk of being dropped for Marsh. Of the five changes to the XI that followed a horror loss Hobart, he was the player picked most on potential instead of performances.

"We've got to worry about when he's fit ... then we'll work out what we do," coach Lehmann said.

"You'd love to have continuity all the time, in this day and age sometimes that's not possible ... but you'd love to keep a group together, a younger group especially."

Interim chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and captain Steve Smith have both asked the side's newcomers be given time to settle.

It is unclear just how patient selectors will be. Australia will fly out for a four-Test tour of India a month after completing their home three-Test series against Pakistan.

"The guys who came in did a really good job," Lehmann said.

"If you can keep the group together for five years or so, or whatever it is - until the older guys go - it makes it easier.

"But then you've got different conditions and blokes in and out of form, so you just have to sum it up along the way."

Australia fielded its youngest Test XI since 1986 in Adelaide. Lehmann noted he felt "sad for the blokes who missed out" but added something had to give after five Test losses on the trot.

"When you lose, you need to change," he said.

"We had to inject some new players, players who can grow and play for 10 years ... develop a side who can grow for a long period of time.

"We've got a young group who is going to be exciting. There's going to be ups and downs."

Australia face New Zealand in a three-match ODI series before assembling in Brisbane for another day-night Test.

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