As the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge gets underway, Australia coach Darren Lehmann has spoken about two of the significant selection decisions that helped shape the playing XI.
Lehmann says spinner Ashton Agar was named to make his Test debut because his left arm spin will move away from the high number of right-handers in the England team.
Agar, Australian Test cap number 434 , was awarded his Baggy Green by Glenn McGrath this morning shortly before the start of play.
"The main reason for the selection is taking the ball away from all their right-handers and we think this is a really important weapon in particular for this Test match on that particular wicket," Lehmann says.
"In the tour match Michael (Clarke) felt he had good drift and straightened the ball nicely so that’s just the way we have gone with the selectors in this Test match and we’re looking forward to him playing really well."
The 19-year-old’s inclusion in the side leaves Nathan Lyon as 12th man, but Lehmann says both are in contention for the next week’s second Test at Lord’s.
"Nathan Lyon is still in the mix. Obviously there is no reason, apart from the eight right handers that is, why we have gone with Ashton.
"We’re pretty confident with that, but the next Test match could be totally different, so we’ll just wait and see what the wicket is and what happens in this Test match."
Dave Warner has also been left out of the Australian starting line-up.
Lehmann says the selectors couldn’t warrant picking him without any form in four-day cricket with the batsman serving a suspension for his altercation with Joe Root during the ICC Champions Trophy.
"Philip Hughes comes into the role at five and the simple reason he has come in is he has made runs in the two Tour games and the hard luck story for Davey is he didn’t have the opportunity," Lehmann says.
Lehmann was impressed with Warner’s attitude and dedication at training and in the nets and admits the decision was a tough one.
"I’ve been really impressed with him and we want an in-form Dave Warner playing.
"Now the challenge for him is to keep working hard and get him ready for the Tour game and the right brand of cricket to get back in the Australian team. The challenge for the top six is to perform well enough to keep him out."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 10 July, 2013 7:58PM AEST