Cricket

Changes ahead for Australian side

2015-11-17 17:30
Peter Siddle (Gallo)

Perth - Australian selectors have much to ponder ahead of the third Test against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval.

While Australia retained the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy with a draw in the second Test against the Kiwis at the WACA Ground, they will field a changed side for the third and final Test and the selection panel has some important decisions to make.

The historic day-night fixture starts on November 27 and there will be at least two changes to the Australian 11 for the match, and quite possibly more, with the squad to be announced on Wednesday.

Experienced pacemen Mitchell Johnson announced his immediate retirement from international cricket on the final day of the second Test in Perth, while batsman Usman Khawaja has been ruled out of the match with a hamstring strain.

In addition to those two forced changes, there are concerns over paceman Josh Hazlewood's fitness and workload, and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh is under mounting pressure due to his form woes.

Victorian veteran Peter Siddle appears the logical replacement for Johnson, having been the 12th man for the second Test.

If Hazlewood is rested, James Pattinson and Jackson Bird lead the queue of contenders to replace him, especially with Pat Cummins sidelined by injury as Australia's fast bowling depth is tested.

Pattinson has been plagued by injuries throughout his career and has just returned to first-class cricket, while Bird, who played the last of his three Tests in 2013, has been in solid form for Tasmania.

Others who could come into contention include cagey New South Wales veteran Doug Bollinger and uncapped West Australian Jason Behrendorff.

Khawaja's possible replacement should come from a list which includes the experienced Shaun Marsh, uncapped veteran Michael Klinger and uncapped New South Welshman Nic Maddinson.

Australian captain Steve Smith wouldn't be drawn on selection, but did reveal he would bat at number three while Khawaja is injured.

Marsh's form in the Trans-Tasman series has been modest, with 37 runs at 12.33 and four wickets at 34.75, and in nine Tests he has managed just one half-century.

On a batsman-friendly wicket, Marsh fell for just one on the last day of the second Test, with NSW all-rounder Moises Henriques considered as having a strong chance to win a recall at his expense.

Read more on:    australia  |  peter siddle  |  cricket
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