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Australia weighs up option of three spinners, return of Cameron Green for second Test

Cameron Green's availability for the second Test will play a big part in the team Australia chooses.

Cameron Green's availability for the second Test will play a big part in the team Australia chooses. Photo: AAP

Australia is considering rushing key all-rounder Cameron Green back from injury and playing three spinners in the crucial second Test against India in Delhi.

The tourists are attempting to bounce back from a horror start to the Border-Gavaskar series after being smashed by an innings and 132 runs in Nagpur.

Australia are expecting another pitch that will produce sharp turn after they were bamboozled by India’s star spinners Ravi Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin last week.

Queensland left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann will almost certainly make his Test debut to play alongside Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy if Green is fit.

The last time Australia picked three spinners was against Bangladesh in 2017 when Lyon, Ashton Agar and Steve O’Keefe played, as well as all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.

It was initially feared Green would be fit to bat before he could bowl after recovering from a broken finger, but the 23-year-old was having more trouble hitting powerful shots than sending down quick deliveries during Wednesday’s main training session.

“Having a right-hander helps and him providing our fifth bowling option also helps. He’s a big player. It certainly helps the team function well from batting and bowling,” Australia captain Pat Cummins said.

“You have got to be able to perform as well. He’s still coming back from that injury, and he’s only had a couple of sessions where he’s catching with a hard ball.

“He had a really good session (on Wednesday), but will see how he pulls up.”

It is not the only selection dilemma Australia is dealing with as it tries to avoid going 2-0 down in the four-Test series.

Star quick Mitchell Starc, who has also been recovering from a broken finger, joined his Australia teammates this week after he stayed back in Sydney.

Starc on Wednesday rated himself a “good chance” of being fit to play in the Indian capital but also cast doubt on his availability.

Cummins said Starc would not be an automatic inclusion due to the spin-friendly conditions.

Victoria quick Scott Boland also performed admirably in his first Test outside of Australia bowling alongside Cummins.

“I think there’s a conversation,” Cummins said about Starc.

“He’s one of the world’s premier bowlers in these type of conditions.

“I thought last week with two pacers that attack functioned quite well but I think whether it’s ‘Starcy’, another spinner, Scotty (Boland), variety in the attack does help.”

Australia will need to defy history to level the series in the second Test starting on Friday, with India unbeaten in red-ball matches at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium since 1987.

India will enter the match with added motivation as prolific No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara readies to play his 100th Test.

Pujara has dominated Australia across 11 Tests, hitting three centuries and averaging 47.28.

“They are always vocal on the field,” the 35-year-old said of playing against Australia.

“There is a little bit of banter going on, and sometimes that motivates me a bit more because I’m not someone who will try to talk back at them.

“But the best thing you can do as a cricketer is to slow down and let the bat do the talking.”

POSSIBLE AUSTRALIA XI

David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Todd Murphy, Nathan Lyon, Matt Kuhnemann.

-AAP

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