Australia A Tour of England - Men's
Star trio create pleasant headaches for selectors
With Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh and Matt Wade back in the squad following the World Cup, selectors have some tough calls to make ahead of tour match against England Lions XI
Sam Ferris in Canterbury
13 July 2019, 09:59 AM AEST
The Australia A squad has been boosted by the returns of Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh and Matt Wade, the three players who were called up to Australia's World Cup campaign.
But while their presence strengthens the squad ahead of Sunday's clash against a formidable England Lions XI, it is set to cause a headache, albeit a good one, for the selectors.
Handscomb, Marsh and Wade arrived at Australia A's Ashford base, about 45 minutes outside Canterbury, on Friday afternoon but it's unclear which of the trio will play in the second four-day tour of the A tour.
With fast bowlers James Pattinson and Josh Hazlewood set to be rested for the Lions clash to be fresh for the all-Australia match in Southampton, it is expected allrounder Marsh will come straight into the XI alongside Victoria quick Chris Tremain.
Which means if Handscomb and Wade play, two of the top five batsmen that comprehensively beat Sussex by 10 wickets in Arundel will have to make way.
Openers Joe Burns (133) and Marcus Harris (109) each scored centuries against Sussex and spent considerable time at the crease.
Burns, who only arrived in England three days before the opening fixture having overcome a chronic fatigue disorder, spent more than five-and-a-half hours at the crease in Arundel, while Harris was in the middle for 216 minutes.
Kurtis Patterson, (4), Travis Head (34) and Will Pucovski (12) failed to post a significant score, and after the second-innings blitz from Australia A's bowling attack which left just 11 runs required for victory, the trio weren't afforded another bat.
Unlike Head and Pucovski, who enjoyed lengthy time at the crease in the 50-over leg of the campaign, left-hander Patterson has spent a total of 62 minutes batting on tour across two unbeaten one-day innings and his sole knock in Arundel.
Should Wade and Handscomb be selected in the Australia XI to take on the Lions, they both enter in good form.
While Handscomb scored four in the World Cup semi-final loss to England, he had put together totals of 64, 28 not out and 57 in the one-dayers with a new-look batting technique.
And Wade was the standout batter of the 50-over matches, blazing the fastest List A century by an Australian against Derbyshire to go with his hundred in Northampton.
With only two four-day matches left, in Canterbury and Southampton, before the Ashes squad is selected, each innings will be vital for the Test hopefuls, aspirants and incumbents.
One certain starter for Sunday is left-arm spinner Jon Holland, who is confident the new-look XI can continue the visitors' winning ways.
"'Trem' (Tremain) comes in and he's a great bowler in these conditions," Holland told cricket.com.au in Canterbury on Friday.
"Hopefully we can still put them (the Lions) on the back foot and take early wickets and make my job a lot easier.
"It's going to be a little bit different without Hazlewood and Pattinson in the team – they're superstar bowlers.
"It's going to be a different make-up but our bowlers are up to the challenge and should do fine."
Australia A tour of the UK
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Australia A one-day squad: Travis Head (c), Matthew Wade, Will Pucovski, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh (vc), D'Arcy Short, Kurtis Patterson, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Sean Abbott, Andrew Tye
Australia A four-day squad: Tim Paine (c), Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski, Travis Head (vc), Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jon Holland, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Josh Hazlewood (vc), Chris Tremain
July 13-16: Australian XI v England Lions, Canterbury
July 23-26: Australia v Australia A, Hampshire