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Finch, Khawaja included in Australian line-up for West Indies clash

Finch, Khawaja included in Australian line-up for West Indies clash
Aaron Finch will be opening for Australia along with David Warner.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australian captain Steven Smith has announced a 12-man squad from which he will select the final playing XI for the first encounter against West Indies in the ongoing tri-series.

Smith also revealed that he will decide whether or not to play an extra spinner after having a final look at the pitch on which the game will be played on.

If the Australian team management decides to play two spinners, Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa are expected to pair up otherwise one of the two will join the three-man pace attack consisting of Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland and Josh Hazlewood.

However, Smith confirmed that Aaron Finch and David Warner will return at the top of the order as the openers while Usman Khawaja is set to be slotted in at the number three position.

Spin played a major part in the first game between West Indies and South Africa with Sunil Narine taking a six-wicket haul as the hosts romped home to a four-wicket win against the Proteas.

Smith is confident that the Australian squad has the right balance to succeed in the conditions in West Indies where the pitches are expected to be on the slower side.

“It was nice to see the game yesterday,” he said.

“Obviously it’s a different wicket but I think conditions will be pretty similar.

“We’ll have another look in the morning and see how we go.

“I think for this wicket we’ve got a good mix; guys who can penetrate the wicket quite hard and hit good areas, a couple of spinners and guys who can bowl a lot of cutters, which are going to work well on that wicket.

“So I think we’ve got the balance right for the first game.”

Narine’s performance has been quite a boost for the West Indies, who will be keen to secure a win against the Australians and take an early advantage in the series.

Australia have not faced Narine since the 2014 World Twenty20 and Smith said that the Australian batsmen will have to play smart cricket against the spinners especially in the Caribbean conditions.

“I think it’s about each individual batter having a plan against him.

“He’s a quality bowler with a different set of skills than we’re used to seeing, (but) a lot of guys have seen him now and know what he brings to the table.

“It’s probably not going to be really high-scoring games, particularly in the middle overs against the spinners.

“It’s about making sure we’re able to rotate the strike and if we get a bad ball to put it away.

“In Australia, where the bounce is consistent and the ball doesn’t spin a great deal, you can hit through the line and take the game on a little bit more.

“It’s about making sure we’re smart with our skills.

“It looks like it’s going to be one of those wickets where the new ball is the easiest time to bat and then the wicket slows up and gets a little bit harder to score.

“So if we try and make the most of those first 6-10 overs, hopefully that can hold us in good stead for the rest of the innings.”

After the completion of the game against West Indies in Guyana on 5th July, Australia will take on South Africa at the same venue on 7th July before heading St Kitts for another match against the Proteas on 11th July.

Australia’s 12-man squad (final XI TBA):

Aaron Finch, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon.

© Cricket World 2016