Josh Hazlewood could be rested for the Sydney Test.
Josh Hazlewood could be rested for the Sydney Test. Andy Brownbill

Spin twins a chance at the SCG against Windies

A CAREER-best haul of 4-61 by all-rounder Mitch Marsh in the second innings of the Boxing Day Test has given New South Wales spinner Steve O'Keefe every chance of lining up against the West Indies in the final Test of the series, starting at the SCG on Sunday.

O'Keefe hasn't played for Australia since taking 4-219 on debut against Pakistan in Dubai last October, a match in which front-line tweaker Nathan Lyon finished with 2-220 as Australia was beaten by 221 runs.

Australia hasn't gone into a Test in Australia with two spinners since Shane Warne and Stuart McGill played against South Africa at the SCG in 2006.

But coach Darren Lehmann said Marsh's performance in Melbourne gave selectors options in Sydney, particularly since the SCG wicket had been conclusive to spin this summer.

"Mitch Marsh was fantastic - that allows us to play three genuine quicks, and allows us to play two spinners," Lehmann told reporters.

"That's a real option for us - especially where we're going to.

"Not so much New Zealand (in February), but looking further ahead with sub-continent conditions (in Sri Lanka in July/August), we'll need to make sure we've got two spinners up and running."
Lehmann said O'Keefe was unlucky the tour of Bangladesh in October was called off due to security concerns, after the 31-year-old had been selected in the 14-man squad.

"He'll probably bat at eight - above Patto (James Pattinson) if they both play (in Sydney). He can bat - he's a chirpy little fiesty bloke in the field too," he said. "I'm looking forward to him contributing if he gets his chance."

The coach also admitted paceman Peter Siddle (ankle) was in serious doubt for the Sydney Test and would need to bowl in the nets on Saturday and Sunday to convince selectors he was ready to go.
 



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