Domain Tests v India
Uncapped pair named in Aussie Test squad
Marcus Harris, Chris Tremain picked in 14-man Test squad with Peter Handscomb also included to face world No.1 India
22 November 2018, 11:09 AM AEST
In-form Victoria opener Marcus Harris has been included in Australia's 14-man squad for the first two Domain Tests against India in Adelaide and Perth.
Harris and state teammate Chris Tremain are the only uncapped players in the big squad which includes six specialist batters and five fast bowlers.
Australia's squad for first two Tests against India: Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh (vc), Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (c, wk), Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain, Peter Siddle.
The 26-year-old Harris has plundered 437 runs at 87.50 in the JLT Sheffield Shield this summer, headlined by a mammoth unbeaten 250 against NSW at the MCG last month.
Test incumbents Aaron Finch and Travis Head have been named along with Victoria captain Peter Handscomb, who missed selection for Australia's Test tour to the UAE but has forced his way back through a weight of runs at domestic level.
Handscomb was in sparkling form in the JLT One-Day Cup to start the summer and compiled a classy Shield hundred against a potent South Australia attack at Adelaide Oval, venue of the first Test from December 6.
Harris and Handscomb have edged out Queensland pair Matthew Renshaw and Marnus Labuschagne.
“Marcus Harris has forced his way into the squad after an impressive start to the Sheffield Shield campaign for Victoria, and in recent times has performed in high pressure matches, including Sheffield Shield finals," said chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns. "Not only has he made plenty of runs, he’s displayed the mental application we believe is required to compete at Test cricket.”
“Peter Handscomb has been recalled after missing out on the tour to the UAE. He’s been one of Victoria’s most consistent performers with the bat through the JLT Cup and Sheffield Shield. He’s a well respected member of the dressing room, a calm head at the crease and has also played against India at Test level.”
Usman Khawaja has been included and will captain Queensland in their Shield clash against Victoria next week in what will be his first match back after undergoing knee surgery last month.
The four-day Shield fixture represents the left-hander's only hit-out before the first Test, but the 31-year-old was comfortably Australia's best batter in the UAE.
"We’ve been really impressed with the way Usman Khawaja has applied himself through his rehabilitation and he’s left no stone unturned in his bid to return in Adelaide," said Hohns. "Barring any setbacks, all the signs are indicating he will be available for the first Test.”
Veteran Shaun Marsh struggled against Pakistan but has been in sublime touch since returning home with ODI and Shield centuries under his belt. His form would suggest automatic selection, and with allrounder and younger brother Mitch likely to bat at No.6 and Khawaja a certain starter if he gets through his Shield match, it means four batters – Finch, Head, Handscomb and Harris – could be playing for three spots.
The bowling attack looks set to return to the Ashes-winning quartet of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon.
The three NSW quicks will be rested from the Blues Shield match at Perth Stadium, suggesting Victoria duo Tremain and Peter Siddle are in the squad as cover.
Tremain is the JLT Sheffield Shield's second leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets at 20.45 and can bowl at express pace.
“Chris Tremain has been performing consistently with the ball for Victoria," said Hohns. "His form in the Sheffield Shield has seen him become the second highest wicket taker in the competition this season. He has also been a consistent wicket taker over the past two seasons, and thoroughly deserves his place in the squad.”
Siddle is an incumbent fast bowler having played both Tests in the UAE, but that was with Cummins and Hazlewood on the comeback trail from back injuries.
Along with Renshaw and Labuschagne, Michael Neser, Jon Holland and Brendan Doggett are the other UAE squad members to miss selection.
“The players have had the opportunity to put their best case forward for selection through the JLT Cup and Sheffield Shield, but unfortunately haven’t done enough to earn selection," Hohns continued.
“As I’ve said in the past we know the quality of the players mentioned previously, and with a big summer program ahead opportunities may well present themselves for them, as well as others not included in this squad.”
India Tour of Australia 2018-19
Domain Tests v India
First Test: December 6-10, Adelaide Oval
Second Test: December 14-18, Perth Stadium
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 3-7, SCG