Langer backs struggling Harris for Melbourne Ashes Test

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Australia coach Justin Langer Thursday said strug-gling opener Marcus Harris will play in the Boxing Day Ashes Test at Melbourne, and backed fast bowler Mitchell Starc to recover from a rib niggle. Harris’s Test career appeared in doubt after an-other failure in the day-night second Test at Ade-laide this week, where he made just three and 23 as Australia thumped England by 275 runs.

It followed just 12 from two innings in the home team’s nine-wicket win at the first Test in Brisbane.

But Langer said he still had faith that the 29-year-old would succeed alongside David Warner, who has had multiple opening partners during his 10-year Test career.

“He’ll play in the Test, no worries about that,” Langer said. “This is his home ground. He’s played a lot at the MCG.

“He hasn’t made the runs he’d like to so far, but he dominates domestic cricket. So he knows that he knows how to play.

“For him and for us we’re hoping he plays well and gets a good partnership with Davey Warner in this Boxing Day Test match.” Finding a long-term partner for Warner has been a problem since Chris Rogers’ retirement after the 2015 Ashes, with Harris averaging just 22.19 from his 12 Tests, and a top score of only 79.

Langer said it was important for Harris’s confi-dence to keep a settled line-up.

“That’s absolutely one of the most important things in life, knowing people have got your back,” he said.

“My experience, when Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting, Mark Taylor or Allan Border said ‘you’re in the team’, you feel like Superman.

“You feel like you’re important to the team and Marcus Harris is important to the team.” With Har-ris a confirmed starter, Australia’s only question mark is over their bowling unit.

Captain Pat Cummins missed Adelaide after be-ing a close contact of a Covid positive case, but is set to return.—APP

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