Australia have named their playing XI for the third Test against India, starting December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The hosts have not tinkered much with their winning combination in the Perth Test except for one change. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh is back in the playing XI after being dropped for the first two Tests while Peter Handscomb will have to sit out of the Boxing Day Test.
The rest of the Australian squad remains the same with their formidable bowling attack in form of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood, who are likely to get some help from the junior Marsh.
Meanwhile, the left-handed batsman Travis Head, who failed to score in Perth, has been retained in the squad while Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh complete the middle-order for the Aussies.
Tim Paine explained the change in the winning combination saying they would need the bowling of Mitchell Marsh and also there were a few things the management wanted Handscomb to work on.
“I’m sure Pete would be upset. I think he’s had conversations with the selectors that there are a few things he needs to work on and Pete is open to that,” Paine said on Tuesday.
He also said that Handscomb would come into consideration for the fourth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, traditionally the most spin-friendly of the Australian pitches.
“Going to Sydney, a place where it normally spins, I think people come back into the fold pretty quickly because he’s renowned as probably our best player of spin,” Paine added.
Australia’s playing XI for the third Test:
Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Tim Paine (c & wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.