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Australia name two spinners in the team for Sydney Test

Australia name two spinners in the team for Sydney Test
Stephen O'Keefe replaced Peter Siddle in the Australian XI that played in Melbourne.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia have decided to go ahead with a two-pronged spin bowling attack for the Sydney Test against West Indies by including Stephen O'Keefe in the playing XI in place of the injured Peter Siddle.

O'Keefe's inclusion will be his second Test appearance for Australia after his debut in the Dubai Test against Pakistan in 2014.

Siddle suffered an ankle injury in the Boxing Day Test against West Indies and according to the Australian skipper Steven Smith the 31-year-old fast-bowler hasn't recovered yet.

“He (Siddle) felt it wasn’t best for him to come into this Test match the way he is at the moment.

“He’s a great team man and felt he would be letting the team down (if he played).

“We were probably going to go the two spinners option anyway.”

Observing that the pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground “looks quite dry”, Smith feels that it will offer support for the spinners.

“So I think it’ll take some spin.

“Peter Siddle is still a little bit sore.

“He’ll have a rest for a couple of weeks and hopefully get himself right for (the upcoming tour of) New Zealand.”

O'Keefe, who was included in the squad for the tour of Bangladesh and also the day-night Test against New Zealand is looking forward to playing alongside Nathan Lyon.

“I enjoy playing with Nathan, he is a humble, lovely guy who I admire a lot and fingers crossed we can get that opportunity again,” O’Keefe said on Friday.

“The year we won the Shield we had some good performances and to play two spinners in a Shield final is a pretty cool thing to happen I guess.

“There are a couple of situations we have bowled the majority of the overs and enjoyed going each side of the bat.”

The last time Australia bowled two front-line spinners in a Test match at home was back in January 2006 when Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill took the field against South Africa in Sydney.

Australia XI for third Test: David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill (wkt), James Pattinson, Stephen O'Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

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