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Omitted Pattinson eyes second Test

Cricket

National selectors are confident underdone paceman James Pattinson will be available for the second trans-Tasman Test.

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Pattinson was a surprise omission for the two-Test series opener in Wellington, starting today.

The Victorian expressed confidence last week that he’d be fit and firing for the clash but selectors still harbour doubts about his lack of conditioning.

“The selectors aren’t 100 per cent sure whether he’d get through this first Test match,” skipper Steve Smith said.

The second and final Test starts in Christchurch on February 20 and Smith expects Pattinson will be available.

“Selectors are confident that he’ll be fit and available for the second Test match,” Smith said.

“It’s nice to just have that little bit of extra time. He can get a few bowls in in the nets over the next couple of days.”

Pattinson has bowled just 21.3 overs since the SCG Test, having sat out the Big Bash League because of sore shins.

He returned in last week’s Sheffield Shield clash in Melbourne but was withdrawn after two days of play.

Bowling coach Craig McDermott suggested Pattinson “wasn’t quite right yet”.

“We’re better off giving him another eight or nine days to see whether he can get through the second Test match,” McDermott said.

“We have to make sure he’s 100 per cent before he gets a crack, if he gets a crack… he’s got to get through some bowling, first and foremost and how he pulls up over the next seven or eight days. We’ll take every day as it comes.”

Pattinson suggested last week that “selectors and the medical staff are pretty happy” with where he was at.

“I was a bit rusty early on [in the Shield game] but then I hit my straps in the second innings,” the Victorian said.

“I’m feeling really good.”

Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird will form Australia’s pace attack in the first Test.

-AAP

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