Australia captain Pat Cummins says he is leaning towards playing two spinners for the third Test against South Africa in Sydney.
Cummins said he would confirm his XI at Wednesday’s pre-match toss while highlighting the spin-friendly nature of the SCG pitch and the fact it could be an ideal lead-in to next month’s tour of India.
It raises the prospect of recalled Ashton Agar partnering 458-wicket-taker Nathan Lyon in a twin-spin attack at the SCG for the first time since 2017.
“I don’t think it’s the Waca [Perth] type pace bowling-friendly wicket out there, so we’ll see,” he told reporters. “Yesterday we had a pretty good look at the wicket, just wanted to have another look today 24 hours on.
“It hasn’t really changed. They’ve taken a bit more grass off it. I know SCG historically is renowned for a bit of spin and I reckon that might be the case this week.”
Cummins’ sentiments indicate that West Australian paceman Lance Morris, dubbed “Wild Thing”, could miss out on making his debut in place of the injured Mitchell Starc in the final South Africa Test.
The skipper backed speedsters Josh Hazlewood and Scott Boland to support him in the new-ball attack and make the most of any available reverse swing as the pitch becomes more abrasive under wear and tear.
“We’ll probably get more spin overs here. Our batters are obviously going to face more spin here as well,” he said. “Captaining here might be different to the last few Test matches. It’s good preparation for India.
“It’s a huge connection to India. I think with fast bowling, reverse swing is going to come into it, which we can expect in India.”
Another possible option for selectors was to bring in Matthew Renshaw to bolster the batting with either Hazlewood or Boland making way.
There was a match-eve scare when star batsman Steve Smith was struck a painful blow on his fingers during nets practice.
Smith was seen recoiling in pain and throwing his gloves to the ground after being hit by a throwdown from head coach Andrew McDonald. After a brief inspection of his hand, Smith continued batting.
Cummins said he was not influenced by forecast showers over the opening days of the Sydney Test.
“The pitch is the main one. I think in the last couple of years the weather hasn’t played ball with the forecast,” he said.
The Australians have already wrapped up the three-match series, after hammering the Proteas by an innings and 182 runs in Melbourne following a six-wicket rout in the opener at Brisbane inside two days.
© Agence France-Presse