Hussey picks faith over state for Perth Test

Former Test batter backs Peter Handscomb, says fellow Western Australian Mitch Marsh is not needed for WACA Test

If Mike Hussey was selecting Australia’s XI for the third Magellan Ashes Test at the WACA Ground, he would choose out-of-nick batsman Peter Handscomb over Western Australian allrounder Mitchell Marsh.

While Handscomb has "battled" for every run this series, Hussey believes Australia’s dominant four-pronged bowling attack can do the job without the all-round services of Marsh on what is expected to be a flat Perth pitch.

"If it was up to me personally, I would stick with (Handscomb) because it’s a pretty tough call to drop a guy straight after a day-night Test match, that pink ball, where it’s tough for the batters," Hussey said on this week’s episode of The Unplayable Podcast.

"You need a bit of luck. Yes, he did battle a fair bit and has battled this summer so far in Australia, but he’s still got a pretty good record, he averages 47 in Test cricket, he’s had a good start to his international career.

"On the extra bowling side of things, I think the four bowlers have done a fantastic job working well together, they complement each other well, they’ll be well rested after having the best part of a week off leading into the next Test match.

"Personally, I don’t see the need to change things up too much.

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"And that’s me as a proud West Australian saying something like that where I’d love it if Mitch Marsh got an opportunity as well."

Handscomb has registered scores of 14, 36 and 12 in the Ashes and has been worked over by England’s swing bowlers James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.

When asked on Monday night who of Handscomb or Marsh England would prefer to see line up for Australia from Thursday, former England captain Michael Vaughan said the Victorian.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann confirmed on Sunday the characteristics of the WACA pitch will determine whether his side requires the extra overs an allrounder provides.

Should Lehmann and the other selectors pick an unchanged side for the final Ashes Test at the historic WACA Ground, Hussey is encouraged by the calibre of player waiting in the wings.

"It’s good to know Australia has some class players on the side that can come in and do a great job," he said.

"Mitch Marsh has been in great touch for Western Australia with the bat. He’s probably come back with the ball a little bit quicker than what people expected, so that’s the added the bonus and why he’s been rushed back into this Australian squad.

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"His bowling is going to be a little underdone. He hasn’t done a lot of bowling for Western Australia after coming back from a long-term shoulder problem.

"That would be a worry but having said that he doesn’t have to bowl a lot of overs in the Test match. Just helping out with 5-10 overs."

Australia quick Josh Hazlewood says an allrounder in the Test XI would be ideal but the rested bowling unit would be up to the task if Marsh doesn’t play.

"You always want an allrounder, but at the same time you want those runs at No.6,” Hazlewood said today.

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"It'd be ideal to have a Jacques Kallis or someone like that, but they're special players.

"At this stage the bowlers are fresh, we've got another break after this (match), it's up to the selectors how they feel."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

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

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 Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

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