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Smith replaces Warner as Australia Test opener

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Steve Smith will replace David Warner as Australia’s Test opener despite never batting in the position in his 16-year first-class career.

Smith, 34, will open alongside Usman Khawaja in the first Test against West Indies in Adelaide from 17 January.

Smith has never opened in 167 first-class games, which includes 105 Tests.

“There were plenty within the team who were pretty keen to go on record and say that they weren’t keen to do it,” said selector George Bailey.

“So it was refreshing that Steve had come forward and said he wanted it.

“It was something that we’d been chatting about in the background as a selection panel with the coaches as well. “It’s selfless that someone who’s had such success in one position or a couple of positions in the middle order is open and willing and hungry to go and have a crack at something new and something different.”

Smith began his career as a leg-spinner and number eight before becoming a prolific middle-order batter. He has scored 9,514 runs at an average of 58.01 in Tests.

He has batted at number three in 17 Tests – most recently in 2017 – although he has opened twice for Australia in T20s.

Australia Test squad against West Indies: Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc. BBC

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