Justin Langer
Justin Langer has backed Kurtis Patterson’s selection (AFP Photo)

Australia threw a surprise when they picked Kurtis Patterson for the first Test against Sri Lanka at Gabba despite not being part of an initial squad of 13.

When the original squad for the two-Test Sri Lanka series was announced, Will Pucovski was touted to make his debut and ahead of the pecking order on the basis of his excellent show in Australia’s first-class competition Sheffield Shield, averaging 69.88 this season.

However, Patterson leapfrogged him after hitting 157* and 102* for Cricket Australia XI against Sri Lanka at Hobart in a tour match. Explaining the decision, Australia coach Justin Langer admits the call must have raised a few eyebrows but based on what the left-hander had done in the warm-up match, that was a logical decision.

“You agonise more probably at this point of the season about what’s going to get reported on, if I’m completely frank,” Langer said. “It shouldn’t be, hopefully I’ll get tougher over the years that way (and I) won’t think about that. But it was a common-sense decision.

Patterson scored 30 and took a stunning catch in the slips in Brisbane as Australia crushed Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs to take 1-0 lead in the series on Saturday.

Langer said Patterson was rewarded for what he did in Hobart and that he’s happy with the flexibility the management displayed. “(Patterson) got a hundred in both innings against Sri Lanka and you talk about rewarding performance. So when it came down to that, although we’d selected the squad before, I was really glad we had the courage to have that flexibility and bring someone in from outside that original squad,” he said.