CA XI skipper Joe Burns has played down any rivalry with state teammate Matthew Renshaw as the pair brace for a pivotal batting audition ahead of next week's first Domain Test against Sri Lanka.
Burns and Renshaw will open the batting for a strong CA XI side against the tourists in a three-day match in Hobart starting today, a week before the first Test gets underway in Brisbane.
The pair are among four Test batsmen selected for the pink-ball game at Blundstone Arena, with Marnus Labuschagne – who batted at No.3 in the Sydney Test earlier this month – and uncapped youngster Will Pucovski to bat in the middle order.
With Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Travis Head seemingly secure in the top six for the first Test, the quartet of batsmen in Hobart will be fighting for the three remaining batting spots in the XI.
Teammates at the Queensland Bulls, Burns and Renshaw are no strangers to battling each other for Test spots, with the younger man's Test debut in 2016 coming at the expense of his more experienced teammate.
But Burns says the pair remain tight and have enjoyed each other's successes at the highest level.
"I've never seen myself as competing with Renners," he said.
"It's just a matter of how we get the job done for Queensland.
"You're just happy to see your teammates going well.
"Hopefully we can both get the opportunity, but I'm not sure about the final make-up of the team obviously.
''I'm not sure about a 'bat-off' - the make-up of the team suggests that would be the case.
"But for me, it's just a chance to play a long-form game and get stuck in against the pink ball."
Harris said this week he expects one of Renshaw or Burns to open alongside him at the Gabba, which would mean Khawaja would slip down the order having opened at the SCG.
Even if Renshaw does get the nod to open, Burns could play in the middle order having filled that role early in his First Class career, and having made his Test debut at No.6 against India four years ago.
Speaking last week, Head Coach Justin Langer urged the Hobart quartet not to be distracted by the prospect of playing at the Gabba, saying Renshaw's axing on the eve of last summer's Ashes Series should act as a cautionary tale.
"When you get side-tracked by the future or selection, you forget to keep your eyes on the ball and be good at what you are, which is a batsman," Langer said.
"We know Matt is a good player and a great lesson should be learned for young batsmen, think about now and the future will look after itself.
"No different to that CA XI, it's a great opportunity for guys to think about that game and selection will look after itself.
"If they are side-tracked by getting selected in the Test team, then the chances of them performing are lessened.
"That's mental toughness, the sort of thing we like to see – that the guys are learning lessons and performing when all different pressures come on."
The Cricket Australia XI v Sri Lanka Tour Match in Hobart is being live streamed for free on www.cricket.com.au and the CA Live App and via cricket.com.au on YouTube.
Play in this pink ball Tour Match starts at 2pm (AEDT) daily for the three days.
Cricket Australia XI: Joe Burns (captain), Matthew Renshaw, Kurtis Patterson (vice-captain), Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski, Jason Sangha, Jake Doran (wicketkeeper), Michael Neser, Chris Tremain, Scott Boland, Jon Holland.
Domain Test Series v Sri Lanka
Australia: Tim Paine (captain / wicketkeeper), Josh Hazlewood (vice-captain), Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Will Pucovski, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Dimuth Karunaratne, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Kusal Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha.
Jan 17-19: Tour Match, Cricket Australia XI v Sri Lanka, Blundstone Arena - Hobart (D/N)
Jan 24-28: First Test, The Gabba - Brisbane (D/N)
Feb 1-5: Second Test, Manuka Oval - Canberra
WHAT: Cricket Australia XI v Sri Lanka - Pink Ball Day-Night Tour Match
WHEN: THIS Thursday 17 - Saturday 19 January 2019
WHERE: Blundstone Arena, Hobart
FREE ENTRY - ALL SESSIONS - ALL DAYS
DAILY MATCH SCHEDULE
Gates Open: 1.30pm
Coin Toss: 1.30pm
Session One: 2-4pm
Tea Break: 4-4.20pm
Session Two: 4.20-6.20pm
Dinner Break: 6.20-7pm
Session Three: 7-9pm
Speaking on the CA XI, National Selector Trevor Hohns said:
“The CA XI squad is critical to our pathway system and continuing to harness identified talent at the highest possible level. The players in this squad are of interest to the National Selection Panel, as we look ahead to the World Cup and Ashes campaigns in 2019.”
Australia XI Squad
Joe Burns (c) - Queensland
Kurtis Patterson (vc) – New South Wales
Scott Boland – Victoria
Jake Doran (wk) - Tasmania
Jon Holland – Victoria
Marnus Labuschagne - Queensland
Michael Neser - Queensland
Will Pucovski - Victoria
Jason Sangha – New South Wales
Matt Renshaw - Queensland
Chris Tremain - Victoria
Charlie Wakim - Tasmania
Sri Lanka Squad
Kusal Janith Perera
Dananjaya De Silva