O'Keefe, Agar added to Australia squad for Sydney Test

Ashton Agar is in line to play his third Test for Australia
Ashton Agar is in line to play his third Test for Australia
©REUTERS MEDIA EXPRESS
 

Australia have recalled left-arm-spinners Steve O'Keefe and Ashton Agar for the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sydney.

Agar last played a Test during the 2013 Ashes tour in England where he made considerable impression with the bat but struggled with the ball after picking just two wickets in as many games. Even though, he was included in the World T20 series in India earlier this year, he has not been the preferred choice by the team management and has played two games each in all the three formats.

However, his performances in Sheffield Shield tournament where he ended up picking 16 wickets in the first half as helped him reclaim his place.

Meanwhile, New South Wales spinner O'Keefe has been Australia's second choice spinner after Nathan Lyon but an injury had cut short his tour of Sri Lanka following which he had impressive performances for his club team including an eight-wicket haul against Western Australia.

The selectors have decided to drop Nic Maddinson after he struggled in the three Tests with scores of 0, 1, 44 and 22 while Shaun Marsh has not bee considered to give him more time to regain form playing in the Big Bash League.

Australian head coach Darren Lehmann reasoned that a left-arm-spinner can be handy against Pakistan considering the amount of right handers in their line-up.

"We wanted a left-armer to go away from all their right-handers as well to give us options," said Lehmann.

"If you play two spinners you normally need an allrounder, so that's what we're looking at.

"Agar's a genuine [allrounder], yeah.

"He has made Shield hundreds, and batted well in that Test match at 11, and has certainly got the talent to be a batting allrounder or a spinning allrounder, either way."

The final Test between the two teams starts in Sydney on 3rd January with Australia already having secured the series 2-0 with wins in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Australia Test squad for Sydney Test:

David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Agar, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird

© Cricket World 2016