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Eight contenders for final Test spot

04 August 2017

Sayers, Bird and Swepson are among the leading contenders for the final spot // Getty

Cricket Network

Cricket Network

Take a look at the eight contenders to win the final bowling spot for Australia's tour of Bangladesh

With the long-running pay dispute finally over and the two-Test series against Bangladesh to start later this month, Australia's selectors are set to add an extra bowling option to the 13-man squad that was announced in June.

Selectors had originally planned to announce their final squad member, a replacement for injured quick Mitchell Starc, following the scheduled Australia A tour of South Africa in July and August.

But the pay dispute and consequent abandonment of the A tour meant the likes of Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers, Jason Behrendorff, Chris Tremain and Mitchell Swepson all missed a chance to push their claim for the vacant spot.

Quick Single: Bird hopeful of Bangladesh spot

So who will get the nod?

With little cricket to judge recent form on, the numbers displayed for each player below are taken from the 10 most recent first-class performances to give a statistical guide to the contenders to fill Starc's shoes.

Contenders to replace Mitchell Starc
(statistics from past 10 first-class matches)

Jackson Bird
Overs: 350 | Maidens: 77 | Runs: 1025 | Wickets: 51 | 5WI: 3 | Average: 20.10 | Economy rate: 2.93

Bird's seed takes care of Younis

An incumbent in the Australian Test squad, Jackson Bird has done nothing wrong since the tour of India earlier this year - in fact, he hasn't played any cricket since February. Bird did not play a Test in the Border-Gavaskar series as Pat Cummins was parachuted into the team and he has fallen further down the pecking order with the return of fit-again James Pattinson. While Bird does not have the express pace of that star duo, he does possess a nagging accuracy that has yielded him impressive numbers in recent years.

Jason Behrendorff
O: 340 | M: 75 | R: 1018 | W: 48 | 5WI: 3 | Ave: 21.21 | Econ: 3.00

Brilliant Behrendorff enters Shield record books

The towering left-armer would be a like-for-like replacement for Starc and enjoyed a barnstorming finish to last summer’s Sheffield Shield season. After missing the KFC Big Bash League and two rounds of Shield due to injury, he returned with a bang, the 27-year-old capturing 23 wickets in three matches, including a remarkable 9-37 and 5-52 in his return against Victoria at the WACA Ground.

Joe Mennie
O: 372 | M: 90 | R: 955 | W: 47 | 5WI: 1 | Ave: 20.32 | Econ: 2.57

Joe takes Mennie wickets in Shield return

Mennie’s sole appearance in the Baggy Green came in Australia’s ill-fated outing in Hobart last November. Left out of the team which played the third Test in Adelaide, Mennie’s summer took a nasty turn when he suffered a mild brain bleed after being struck on the head at Sydney Sixers training. He returned for South Australia’s final two Shield matches, collecting nine wickets against Tasmania and following up with another three in the final against Victoria.

Simon Mackin
O: 391 | M: 96 | R: 1180 | W: 45 | 5WI: 4 | Ave: 26.22 | Econ: 3.02

Mack-attack destroys the Redbacks

The 24-year-old right-armer took 35 wickets at 25.17 in eight matches last Sheffield Shield season, including a run of four consecutive five-wicket hauls. He is definitely an outsider for a Test call given he wasn’t selected in the Australia A squad for the now-cancelled tour of South Africa, but showed plenty of promise in his red-ball performances last summer.

Chadd Sayers
O: 409 | M: 118 | R: 1070 | W: 56 | 5WI: 5 | Ave: 19.11 | Econ: 2.62

Watch all of Chadd Sayers' 62 Shield wickets

South Australian paceman Sayers has hovered on the precipice of a long-awaited Test call-up for more than 12 months now; he was part of Australia's squad in New Zealand last year and then again for the Tests in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne this summer, only to be touched out for the third seamer's spot by Jackson Bird on all three occasions. He took a remarkable 62 wickets last Sheffield Shield season, the third-most in history and the most since Shaun Tait's 65 in 2004-05.

Mitchell Swepson
O: 307 | M: 30 | R: 1231 | W: 32 | 5WI: 0 | Ave: 38.47 | Econ: 4.02

Swepson scuttles India with four

The Queenslander leg-spinner was a surprise inclusion in Australia's touring party for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy earlier this year, but did not play a Test. The Bangladesh touring party already has Nathan Lyon and Ashton Agar in the ranks, plus Glenn Maxwell as a back-up slow-bowling option alongside skipper Steve Smith. But should selectors decide the pace brigade, backed up by allrounder Hilton Cartwright, is adequate enough to allow for another spin option, the 23-year-old will be top of the list.

Chris Tremain
O: 296 | M: 78 | R: 797 | W: 42 | 5WI: 0 | Ave: 18.98 | Econ: 2.70

Tremain's four lifts Bushrangers at the 'G

Chris Tremain had a taste of international cricket last October when he played four ODIs in South Africa against the Proteas. He can swing the ball at pace and has worked with Australia assistant coach David Saker in his one season as head coach of Victoria in 2015-16.

Dan Worrall
O: 383 | M: 73 | R: 1234 | W: 51| 5WI: 23 | Ave: 24.20 | Econ: 3.23

Worrall's five boosts Redbacks at the SCG

Another who had an opportunity in the coloured clothes for Australia against South Africa late last year, a back injury kept Worrall on the sidelines for almost the entire first half of the Sheffield Shield season. But he returned to South Australia’s formidable pace attack to help propel the Redbacks into the final, taking 19 wickets in four matches.