World Test Championship

Injured Australia star in with an ‘outside chance' for first Test against India

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Australia all-rounder Cameron Green has shown progress in his recovery from a finger injury and could be in contention to play the first Test against India, as confirmed by head coach Andrew McDonald.

Cameron Green, the Australia fast-bowling all-rounder, has an 'outside chance' to feature in the first of four Tests against India beginning next week, after having shown progress in his recovery from a finger injury recently.

Green had sustained the injury after he was hit by speedster Anrich Nortje during the second Test against South Africa in Melbourne in December. He battled through the pain to score a fighting 51*, backing up a first-innings five-for but was sidelined for the following Test in Sydney.

Ahead of the first Test against India in Nagpur, beginning 9 February, Australia head coach Andrew McDonald confirmed that Green could feature in the starting XI, though there is no clarity if he would be able to bowl.

"He's made some significant steps forward in the last couple of days, probably to my surprise, so there's still an outside chance that everything going well he might be on the team sheet," McDonald told reporters in Alur, where the visitors are currently training in a four-day camp, on Saturday.

"I wouldn't say he was in discomfort with his bowling, one of the deliveries jarred the bottom of the bat and that can create discomfort for anyone but there's a little bit of awareness around that finger."

Cameron Green had sustained a finger injury during the second Test at home against South Africa
Cameron Green had sustained a finger injury during the second Test at home against South Africa

Meanwhile, Australia are also weighing their options in terms of striking the right balance in the spin-friendly conditions, with Ashton Agar, Mitchell Swepson and uncapped Todd Murphy in line to partner frontline spinner Nathan Lyon. Skipper Pat Cummins however, maintained that playing two spinners isn’t certain yet and that the visitors would only take a final call after assessing the playing conditions.

"I wouldn't say it [two spinners] is a given, it's very conditions dependent so particularly this first Test, once we get to Nagpur we'll see," Cummins said. "I think sometimes talking about a couple of spinners you forget how good a lot of our fast bowlers have been in all conditions. Even some of the SCG wickets, there hasn't been a lot in them for quick bowlers but the quick bowlers have found a way.

"We've got plenty of bowling options here - finger-spin, wrist-spin, left-arm, Starcy when he comes back - so we'll obviously pick the bowlers we think can take 20 wickets, how we are going to split that up we aren't 100% sure yet.

"It's a chance. That's something we'll have to balance up if we want to go with two spinners. Do we want variation, or just two offspinners? So there's no reason why we can't go that way. Travis Head is in the side as well and bowls really good off-spin. We've got plenty of variety to choose from."

As for the batting, McDonald expressed confidence in the experienced David Warner, who hasn't had much success in India in the past. Warner has aggregated 388 runs at 24.25, with three fifties from eight Tests in India to date.

"He's really looking forward to the challenge of India and it's been well documented that he hasn't had the series that he would've liked here, and it's always challenging," McDonald said.

"But the way that he's applying himself in his downtime to really landing on a method to take on the Indian spinners, also the quicks, and to have a successful tour...I think you'll see him fully invigorated, fully invested and fully recharged for the challenge ahead."


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