Australia captain Steve Smith says Australia will consider playing two spinners in the third Test – with Steve O’Keefe poised to make his return to the baggy green in Sydney.
O’Keefe did not travel to Adelaide with his Sydney Sixers teammates for the New Year’s Eve Big Bash League clash with the Strikers. It’s understood he will fly over in the afternoon if he is not picked in the Test squad, which would be a major surprise.
The left-arm finger spinner’s last Test was in Pallekele against Sri Lanka, where he was injured midway through the game. He has played all his three Tests partnering offie Nathan Lyon.
Selectors will name their squad for the third Test after the completion of the final day in Melbourne.
Smith, who refused to endorse Lyon on Thursday night, did not rule out the prospect of Australia playing spin twins at the SCG.
“I guess it would depend on the wicket. I know in Shield cricket this year the wickets have been spinning quite a lot, so we’ll look at that and it is a possibility,” Smith said on the ABC Grandstand on Friday morning before the start of play.
“I’ve had a quick chat to Boof and Trevor Hohns last night, I think we’re going to wait until this Test match is over and see where things are at moving forward.
“Obviously the bowlers have still bowled quite a lot this game and they’ve had a pretty big summer, so there’s a few things to talk about.”
Former Test vice-captain Brad Haddin said Australia would “definitely look at two spinners”.
“The talk is the wicket’s been pretty dry this year in state games and the two games I’ve witnessed with the BBL the wicket’s been really dry,” Haddin said.
“I think two spinners is definitely an option.”
Haddin said Lyon would appreciate bowling on his home track.
“Nathan’s our most experienced player in the Test team. He’s played 60 Tests now and you can’t hide behind the fact that there’s always pressure playing for Australia, not just from the outside but the pressure you put on yourself to perform and Nathan’s no different to anyone else,” Haddin said.
“He’ll enjoy getting back to this SCG wicket especially if it’s as dry as it’s been the last few Shield games.”
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