Green did not bat during Australia’s first training session at Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur. He did do some fitness work and light centre-wicket bowling, but Australia have opted for a cautious approach to his recovery given he had surgery to insert pins in his finger only five weeks ago.
“But it’s unlikely, I think.”
This would mean that Australia pick a specialist batter at No. 6 and just four bowlers for the first Test.
Matt Renshaw or Peter Handscomb?
Handscomb has also done a lot of short-leg training in the lead-up to the Test both in Bengaluru and in Nagpur, although Renshaw has also done some close-in fielding work, at silly mid-off. Both men are good close catchers but Handscomb is the more experienced of the two in those roles.
Australia look set to play two spinners and two quicks with the surface looking extremely dry two days out from the start of the Test.
“It’s pretty dry,” Smith said. “Particularly one end that I think will take a bit of spin, particularly the left-arm spinner spinning it back into our left-handers. There’s a section there that’s quite dry. Other than that, I can’t really get a good gauge on it.
“I don’t think there will be a heap of bounce in the wicket. I think for the seamers it will be quite skiddy and maybe a bit of up-and-down movement as the game goes on. The cracks felt quite loose. We’ll wait and see when we get out there.”
If the surface does look like it will spin big from ball one, Australia might have considered three spinners, but with Green set to be unavailable, that option appeared off the table.
“I think if Green was fit it definitely be more of an option,” Smith said. “Without him, maybe. I’m not entirely sure. I think we’ve got a strategy meeting this afternoon where we’ll have a talk about what we think but ultimately it’s down to the selectors to pick the team they think is best for the surface.”
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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