The Australia team have dropped their vice-captain Mitchell Marsh for the first Test against India. The opening match of the four-match Test series between India and Australia will start on Thursday, 6 December at the Adelaide Oval.
Australia’s middle-order batsman Peter Handscomb has taken Marsh’s place in the Aussie team. Tim Paine confirmed on Wednesday that Peter Handscomb would bat at number five with local favourite Travis Head at six.
“Mitch Marsh probably hasn’t been as consistent as he would like and we would like,” Aussie captain Tim Paine told reporters at Adelaide Oval.
“We know he’s good enough to be a genuine all-rounder at Test level,” Paine said. “The quicks are going to have a bowl a bit more and we have full faith that Nathan Lyon can do the job.”
Marcus Harris is all set to make his Test debut against India. Harris would open the Oz batting with Aaron Finch in the series opener.
The upcoming Test series is also Australia’s first home Test since Steve Smith and David Warner were banned over the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
“He’s been a really consistent player for the last three years and thoroughly deserves the opportunity,” Paine said of Harris, adding, “He’s an aggressive little player, he’ll play his shots but he’s also improved his defence.”
Meanwhile, Australian coach Justin Langer has confirmed that batsman Usman Khawaja would play in the first Test despite the arrest of his brother on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice and forgery on Tuesday.
“We’re keeping an eye on ‘Uzzie’, obviously it was a little bit of a shock for him yesterday,” Langer said on SEN radio. “A lot of cricketers say this, but the actual sanctuary is out in the middle so while there’s a lot going on in his personal life, we’re all around him to support him. He’ll be as cool and calm as usual out in the middle.”
Australia squad: Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.