• Agar, Renshaw bolster injury-hit Australia

    Spin-bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar and opener Matthew Renshaw have been called up to the Australia squad for the third Test against South Africa in Sydney with Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc ruled out injured.

    Pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood, meanwhile, has recovered from a side strain that kept him out of the last two Tests and is expected to play next week.

    Australia have already won the three-Test series after a six-wicket victory in Brisbane and by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne.

    Green, who didn’t bowl in South Africa’s second innings in Melbourne, has a fractured right index finger.

    Starc bowled 18 overs with a bruised and bloodied finger that officials have now revealed was also fractured.

    Both players will be sidelined for weeks and are racing against the clock to be ready for Australia’s blockbuster Test tour of India in February.

    “Ashton offers a second spin option should the Sydney pitch be conducive to turn, as it has done in the past. He also brings a solid batting component,” said selector Tony Dodemaide.

    “Matthew is included as a versatile batting option who is in good form, including an unbeaten century in the recent PM’s XI tour match against the West Indies.”

    Renshaw has played 11 Tests, but not since 2018 against South Africa, while Agar has featured four times, with his last Test in 2017 in Bangladesh.

    With Hazlewood recovered from a side strain and the uncapped Lance Morris – touted as the most exciting fast bowler in Australia – also in the squad, the selectors have plenty of options.

    “In terms of fast bowlers, it’s a blessing to have Josh returning, while Lance offers a genuine point of difference with his raw pace and skill,” said Dodemaide. “This squad will cover all bases for when we get to Sydney and assess the conditions closer to the Test match.”

    Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Lance Morris, Nathan Lyon, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, David Warner.

    © Agence France-Presse

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    Simon Borchardt