Australia may have won the 2nd Test in Perth last week to level India 1-1 heading into the Boxing Day Test tomorrow at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
A while ago, their skipper Tim Paine would keep most of the winning formula to his starting XI.
But there will be only one change from last week’s test.
Mitchell Marsh comes in for Peter Handscomb.
That means Australia will field three dedicated fast bowlers alongside one all-rounder.
It will be a flat pitch surface to turn out over the next five days so a lot of the work will come from the seamers.
If this pitch weren’t flat enough, then Australia would’ve come here with the same starting XI from last week.
On Peter Handscomb
For Peter Handscomb, it’s a bummer not to see him grab another opportunity this time around.
But his unusual technique and the way he plays with his bat looks out of control at International level.
Handscomb isn’t playing basics as it should be like other batsmen in the middle.
He needs to bat closer to the pad when defending so you can protect his wicket & avoid an LBW.
Plus whack when moving his feet both front or back so he can execute better rather than reaching out which is a lazy thing to do.
Unfortunately, there’s no way for Handscomb to come back for now.
The only option Handscomb has to do to win back his spot is to score lots of runs for Victoria & Melbourne Stars.
But again, Handscomb must know that he needs to find a technique that is comfortable for him both Domestic & International level.
Otherwise, it’s pointless for the selectors to risk Handscomb and fail with the same technique he used all over again.
Just think about Gary Ballance who thrives at Domestic level with the bat for Yorkshire.
However, Ballance hasn’t batted well Internationally for England.
Hence, he hasn’t played for England since mid-2017 and unlikely to get ever called up unless other new players fail in their opportunities.
On Mitchell Marsh
Regarding M. Marsh’s recall, this is his chance to prove his worth both bat and ball.
He didn’t have a substantial recent tour in the UAE two months ago through sub-par scores with the bat.
But it’s a new start right from scratch considering it’s a home test where he thrived via two Test 100s last season v England.
If he can reignite the form that the selectors expect over the next two Tests in Melbourne & Sydney, then M.Marsh will permanently lock his spot at No.6 in the long-run for the Baggy Green.
However, if his form continues to plummet, then it’s time to look at other all-rounders to fill the void.
So the likes of Marcus Stoinis or Jack Wildermuth will need to ready to step up just in case M. Marsh fails again on home soil.
Australia’s Final Starting XI for tomorrow at the MCG
- Marcus Harris
- Aaron Finch
- Usman Khawaja
- Shaun Marsh
- Travis Head
- Mitchell Marsh
- Tim Paine (Captain)
- Pat Cummins
- Mitchell Starc
- Josh Hazlewood (Vice-Captain)
- Nathan Lyon