Advertisement

Smith drops selection hint on match eve

Australia skipper confirms Travis Head will fill the No.4 slot in Chennai, while Hilton Cartwright is most likely to partner David Warner at the top of the order

Hilton Cartwright is in line to make his one-day international debut as an opener in Australia's match against India on Sunday.

Captain Steve Smith confirmed on Saturday that Travis Head will bat at No.4 for the first of five ODIs in Chennai, despite speculation that he would open in place of Aaron Finch, who will miss the first three matches of the series due to a calf injury.


Cartwright therefore appears the man most likely to partner David Warner in Finch's absence having filled the role in Australia's warm-up match earlier this week, when he was dismissed for a second-ball duck.

The right-hander opened for Western Australia in domestic one-dayers last summer and while Marcus Stoinis has also opened in 50-over cricket domestically, the former Victoria allrounder appears likely to slot into the middle order.

Extended highlights: Australia record huge warm-up win

Apart from revealing Head will bat at No.4, Smith remained otherwise tight-lipped on the make-up of his side, with the Aussies mulling the inclusion of Ashton Agar to provide spin support to Adam Zampa.

"I'd say Travis will probably bat four," Smith said. "I won't give too much away other than that.

"We're going to have a look again tomorrow at the wicket and see what's the best. There might be a bit of rain around so it gives us a chance to have a look at that and then name our XI.

"It just depends on the conditions. We've got a spinning allrounder, we've got allrounders who take the pace off the ball so we've got a few different options."

Aussie draft in mystery spinner ahead of first ODI

The Aussies could even throw in a selection curve ball and opt for Agar to fill Finch's spot at the top. A damaging left-handed batsman who has batted up the order in T20 cricket, Agar could be used as a pinch-hitting option at the top until Finch returns later in the series. But Cartwright, a powerful right-hander who scored 18 in the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong a fortnight ago, is the front-runner to fill the role.

"It's important for someone in the top four to go on and make a big score and we've got the guys in there to do that," Smith said

"We saw the last time we came here in 2013 it was a run-fest where 350 was around par. So if the wickets are the same you need someone to go on and make a really big score."

Head, who scored a century as an opener in January, was this week given the backing of stand-in coach David Saker to fill the troublesome No.4 slot.


Australia have tried six players at No.4 in 10 matches since George Bailey was dropped earlier this year and Saker hopes impressive youngster Head can be a long-term solution.

"Hopefully he's the one that can do it," Saker said of the left-hander on Wednesday, before Finch aggravated his calf injury.

"He just seems to keep getting better every time he plays for Australia, so that's a real positive.

"His training ethic is as good as you'd get so it's a good reward for him."



Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures


September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur


T20 Fixtures


October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad