Australian skipper Tim Paine on Wednesday announced the eleven players who will feature in the first Test against India on Thursday. While Marcus Harris is all set to make his Test debut, Mitchell Marsh has been dropped for the opening encounter. Harris, who had a brilliant domestic season with Sheffield cricket, is likely to open the Australian innings with Aaron Finch in the opening encounter of the four-match series. Praising the young Aussie opener, coach Justin Langer was quoted by Reuters as saying, “He’s scored 500 runs in (Sheffield) Shield cricket in eight innings, he’s a terrific young player and he’s looked very good in some of the most competitive net sessions I’ve seen.”
Peter Handscomb was given the nod ahead of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, following his superb knocks at Gabba last week and a century in Victoria’s match before. This is the first time since the Adelaide Test last year that the Aussies have fielded a squad without an all-rounder.
Australian skipper stated that Mitchell Marsh has not been consistent but the team will require his services at some stage in the one-month long Test series. Speaking to Foxsports.com.au, Paine said, “We know the talent that Mitch has and we know that most likely at some stage in this series we will need him. We are taking the opportunity at the moment to go back and play a Shield game and get some cricket under belt.”
Tarvis Head and Shaun Marsh will anchor the middle-order. Speaking on the bowling department, the Australian skipper said, “We obviously have a lot of confidence in Nathan Lyon bowling a lot of overs if we need to. And probably the fact that all our three quicks go in real fresh. We have confidence in them, particularly at the start of the series. It’s probably unlikely we will use the three quicks as the series wears on… We think they will do the job.”
The four-match Test series will start from Thursday with the first Test being played at Adelaide Oval.
Australian Team: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon