Pucovski in Australia's squad for test series against India

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Consecutive double centuries have earned Will Pucovski a spot in an expanded Australian test squad that also includes struggling incumbent opener Joe Burns for the four-test series against India.

The 22-year-old Pucovski scored an unbeaten 255 for Victoria against South Australia and 202 against Western Australia in Adelaide in his firt two starts of the domestic first-class Sheffield Shield season.

The 17-man squad also includes uncapped Cameron Green, Sean Abbott, Michael Nesser and legspinner Mitch Swepson, who has taken 23 wickets including three five-wicket hauls in three Shield games for Queensland this season.

The main question over the composition of the test XI for the first test against India in Adelaide starting Dec. 17 is who will open with David Warner, given Burns has scored only 57 runs from five innings in the Shield.

National selector Trevor Hohns said the fresh players in the squad were picked on merit following the start of the domestic competition.

Hohns said Pucovski and Green's “undeniable form demanded selection.”

“Will’s record-breaking start to the summer has been exceptional. His ability to show such patience is something which stands him in good stead for test cricket and he is in rare company with two double centuries to start the summer," Hohns said. “Cameron has already won selection in the (limited-overs) squad and continues that in joining the test squad. He is a wonderful young talent who has great potential to become an all-rounder of substance over time. His batting alone has demanded his place in the squad.”

Hohns said Swepson offered a quality spin option to Nathan Lyon, and Abbott is in a strong fast bowling group led by veteran Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and James Pattinson.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine will again be captain of the squad with Cummins as vice-captain.

Australia picked a bigger squad than usual because of the bio-secure hubs that will be in place for the four-test series and the need to plan to replace players at short notice if needed.

Selectors also picked a 19-player Australia A squad to play India A and India in tour matches in Sydney, including nine players from the test squad.

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Australia test squad: David Warner, Joe Burns, Will Pucovski, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Cameron Green, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson, Michael Neser, Mitchell Swepson, Sean Abbott.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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