SL vs Aus 2022 – Australia keen to expose ‘scarcity’ of spin stocks in Sri Lanka
Australia is a resource-rich country. Minerals and fast bowlers are in rich abundance. But the Pakistan Test tour, as successful as it was for Australia, exposed a scarcity of spin resources moving forward towards six Tests in Sri Lanka and India over the next 12 months.
“It’s a little bit about exposing those rarer skillsets as far as but really important skillsets for these types of tours.”
Murphy’s inclusion in the A squad is a bolt from the blue, not dissimilar to Lyon’s inclusion on the 2011 Sri Lanka Test tour when he made his debut.
“[He’s] really consistent,” Bailey said of Murphy. “He’s probably played a little bit more one-day cricket than red-ball. Experienced players have found him hard to get away in one-day cricket. Obviously, he had that particularly strong game against Tasmania. We’re really excited for Todd.”
Kuhnemann, a left-arm orthodox, has played ten first-class matches but already has three five-wicket hauls in Shield cricket for Queensland. Sangha has played six first-class matches taking 17 wickets for New South Wales but the talented legspinner has been on Australia’s radar having toured twice with the T20I squads in 2021. All three youngsters could play for Australia A with Swepson and Agar unlikely to be given a warm-up for the Tests given both men will be needed in Australia’s T20I and ODI series. The two Australia A four-day games run from June 14 to June 24, which is the precise duration of the five-match ODI series. Swepson and Agar are the two specialist white-ball spinners in Australia’s squads as Adam Zampa is missing the tour due to the birth of his child, and Lyon is not in the white-ball set-ups.
Whether Australia opt for three spinners in the Test team remains to be seen. They played two spinners for two Tests in Pakistan, leaving out Josh Hazlewood, and yet Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins combined for 20 wickets in the series while Lyon and Swepson took just 14, with Lyon bagging 12 including five in the final innings in Lahore. Marnus Labuschagne only bowled 31 overs in the series, including just four in the final two Tests when Swepson played, and just one out of 171.4 overs in the final innings in Karachi where Pakistan famously held on for a draw. Labuschagne has a better strike rate with the ball in both Test and first-class cricket than Agar, who last played a Test in 2017 in Bangladesh as part of a three-pronged spin attack.
Bailey said three spinners won’t be ruled out of the equation for the two Tests in Galle, with the first starting on June 29.
“Recent history in Galle would suggest that it’s going to be conducive to spin so there’s a chance that we go in with a similar sort of makeup to what we did finish with in Pakistan, with the extra spinner and one fast bowler short,” Bailey said.
“I think we have to be open to the possibility of playing three spinners. We have seen it done once in the past, I think, in a Test match in Bangladesh. And again, we’ll just assess that. That’s one of the great things about having a little bit of depth in that area with Ash Agar, Mitch Swepson, and Nathan Lyon, you’ve got all bases covered there. And some exciting young Aussie A spinners as well so good to expose them to Sri Lankan conditions.”