IANS

Australia leave out Mitch Marsh for series opener

Adelaide, Dec 5 (IANS) Victoria opener Marcus Harris will make his Test debut while Mitchell Marsh will make way for middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb in the first Test against India, Australia skipper Tim Paine said here on Wednesday.

Paine told reporters on the eve of the match that Harris will open the batting alongside Victoria teammate Aaron Finch, acording to a Cricket Australia report.

Handscomb will bat at No.5 and the hosts will thus enter the first Test with four specialist bowlers – Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.

Explaining Marsh’s omission, Paine said: “We know he’s good enough to be a great all-rounder at Test level but hasn’t quite put it together at Test level yet.

“As this series wears on and you get to places where the wicket is a bit flatter and conditions a bit warmer and bowlers a little more tired, he might have more of a role to play.

“We’ll send him back to Shield, get some more cricket under his belt knowing at some stage we’re probably going to need him. The (Adelaide Oval) wicket over the last few years here has given enough throughout the game. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Nathan Lyon bowling the overs we need and all three of our quicks are going in very fresh,” he added.

Australia coach Justin Langer, meanwhile, said India “are smelling blood” and are confident winning their first Test series ever in Australia.

“You sense they’re smelling blood,” Langer was quoted as saying by SEN’s Whateley.

“Just like the great Australian cricket team of 2001 felt and we just fell short (of winning in India) and we were able to (win in) 2004. You sense these moments. I’m sensing India feel that,” the coach added.

“They’re a good team and they’ve got a couple of great players and we will show them great respect. They haven’t had great success in Australia in the past, as Australia haven’t had in India. They’ll also be under great pressure, I think,” Langer said.

–IANS
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