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Hussey’s smokey for the Adelaide Test

The unique threat of wrist spinners with the pink ball could lead to Mason Crane securing a Test debut for England

The challenging nuances of the luminous pink ball could lead to England leg-spinner Mason Crane being handed a Test debut in the day-night second Magellan Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval, according to champion batsman Mike Hussey.

Crane has vaulted into contention in the wake of England's 10-wicket thumping by Australia at the Gabba, with former England captain Kevin Pietersen calling for the leggie to replace paceman Jake Ball in the starting XI for the twilight fixture.

While the pink ball is thought to favour swing bowling due to its pronounced movement through the air and off the seam on grassier pitches prepared to protect it, Hussey says wrist-spinners in particular provide a unique threat, which could lead to Crane's inclusion.

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"An interesting one that may come into consideration is Mason Crane, the leg-spinner," Hussey said on this week's episode of The Unplayable Podcast when asked if England could make a change for the second Test.

"The reason why I say that is the pink ball, it's sometimes difficult to see the seam of the ball.

"What JLT Sheffield Shield players who have played in the day-night Shield games have said, it's really hard to pick the leggies and the wrong'uns because you can't really see the seam.


"I wonder if England might consider just bringing in the wrist-spinner for that exact reason.

"I'm not expecting the pitch to turn a great deal but causing a few worries to the Aussies batsmen, in not being able to pick the wrist-spinner, might come into play.

"If you remember last year South Africa came in and played an extra spinner and it was a wristy (left-armer Tabraiz Shamsi) as well.

"It might be a smokey but I wouldn't be surprised if England went down that path."

Boosting Crane's chances further is the injury to primary spinner Moeen Ali, who sustained a cut to his spinning index finger in the first Test.

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While Moeen is expected to be fine for the day-night fixture, Crane would most likely come in for Ball, who left Brisbane with match figures of 1-115 from 26 overs.

As England's most expensive bowler in a low-scoring match, Ball was called out by Pietersen, who definitively declared he would drop the tall speedster for Hampshire's Crane.

"I wouldn't play Ball in the next Test match, absolutely not. Absolutely no chance," Pietersen told BT Sport.

"Is Jake Ball any good? I don't think so. Not at this level. Not in Australia, from what I've just seen.

"Mason Crane I'd play. I know it's under lights but it gives that variation of a leg-spin bowler. One spinning away, one spinning in.

"Moeen Ali, we've got an issue with his finger. Do you want Joe Root bowling all the overs? No."

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Hussey said Ball's uncharacteristic performance in the first Test would see the right-armer's name come under the spotlight when the tourists select their side for the pivotal match in Adelaide.

"With Jake Ball, I did actually have a quick chat with Shane Bond, the England bowling coach," Hussey said.

"(Bond) said he's just a bit short of a gallop at the moment, he will get better.

"He probably didn't bowl the way he's renowned for. He's a tall guy but generally tries to pitch the ball up and look to swing it.

"But he bowled quite short in the Brisbane Test which surprised a lot of us.

"Whether his performance was good enough to warrant another place in the second Test remains to be seen. I think there will be a lot of discussion about it."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21