Before big Test, Aus test spin
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The Australians will field three frontline spinners, including the uncapped Ashton Agar, in their second and final warm-up game against India A on Saturday. Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the match, skipper Michael Clarke named the eleven that will play the three-day game at the IC Guru Nanak College ground, ending with the names of Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty and Agar.
Off spinner Lyon is almost certain to feature in the first Test at the MA Chidambaram stadium, but it isn't clear whether he will be Australia's lone specialist spinner or one of two. Of the two left-arm spinners who will bowl to the India A batsmen, ODI regular Doherty has recently earned a long-form recall, having last played a Test match during the 2010-11 Ashes.
The 19-year-old Agar, meanwhile, was originally part of the touring party only as a developmental member, and was scheduled to return home after the full squad arrived in India. But in giving him an opportunity in the tour games, there is a chance that the team management might be looking at a role for him in the Tests. Agar had played against the Board President's XI, taking one wicket in eight overs.
As in that game, the Australians will be without Clarke and opener David Warner, who are recovering from a hamstring strain and a broken thumb respectively. "The reason for skipping this game is that David Warner and I were injured prior to coming here and it's in the best interests of the team and us as individuals that we continue to do our work off the field," Clarke said. "We're going to use these three days to make sure we are prepared for the first day of the Test match."
From the eleven that played the first warm-up game, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, and Jackson Bird will make way for Shane Watson, Phil Hughes, Mitchell Starc and Doherty.