Steve O'Keefe released from Australia Test squad

Steve O'Keefe released from Australia Test squad
Australia have decided to go with three pace bowlers for the day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide.
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

Australian spinner Steve O'Keefe has been released from the squad for the third Test against New Zealand which will be played in Adelaide on Friday.

The decision to release O'Keefe was taken after the pitch at the Adelaide Oval turned out to have an even covering of grass, making it more suitable for Australia's three-pronged pace attack.

With the retirement of Mitchell Johnson, it means that one among James Pattinson and Peter Siddle will get a nod to play the first-ever day-night Test match in Adelaide.

Nevertheless, Australian captain, Steven Smith, has not ruled out the scenario where both Pattinson and Siddle get a game, while Josh Hazlewood is given a rest to manage his workload better.

“He's bowled beautifully in the nets the last couple of days as well.

“It's nice to have some fresh bowlers in – obviously Peter Siddle and James Pattinson haven't played as much cricket as Josh has recently – so it's nice to have some fresh faces in and ready to go, so we'll wait and see how we go.

“The guys have had a good bowl over the last couple of days, and Rodney (Marsh, selector) was going to come down and have a look at this wicket again today, and we're going to decide from there.

“There's probably a little bit more grass (on it) than I anticipated, so that probably swayed our decision (to release O'Keefe).” 

Johnson’s retirement has left a leadership void for the bowling attack, but Smith is confident that Mitchell Starc can successfully take up that role.

"Losing someone of the quality of Mitchell Johnson is always tough for a team, but I think Mitchell Starc is going to step up and fill that role.

"We saw last week the way he bowled was extremely impressive – to bowl 37 overs above 145kph consistently, that's pretty impressive.

“Hopefully we can see a lot more of that." 

Usman Khawaja is another player, who is ruled out of the third Test with a hamstring injury, which he picked up in the second Test against New Zealand.

In the place of Khawaja, the selectors have called in Shaun Marsh and Smith confirmed that the left-hander will bat at number five in the third Test match.

"He has another opportunity to play for Australia and at number five he's done a terrific job, and I think that's where he is best suited.

"He did that last summer here against India and he played beautifully.

"So he's got an opportunity to come in and do well and hopefully he can take it with both hands." 

The day-night Test in Adelaide is expected to draw in a full house during the weekend with tickets being nearly sold out. 

© Cricket World 2015