Pat Cummins hints at Ashton Agar recall for Sydney Test as vital India tour looms

Australian captain Pat Cummins has refused to name the final XI for the third Test against South Africa – but the skipper has dropped a major hint regarding the bowling attack.

After taking a 2-0 lead and wrapping up the series in Melbourne, the hosts will look to make it a clean sweep agaisnt the Proteas when they head to Sydney for the annual New Year’s Test. 

Lance Morris, Matt Renshaw and Ashton Agar are all potential candidates to join the side, but it appears the latter is in line for his first Test since 2017.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning, Cummins poured cold water over a potential debut for Morris, pointing towards a spin-friendly pitch and the upcoming tour of India.

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“We’ll see…I don’t think it’s the WACA type pace bowling friendly wicket out there,” he said.

“Yesterday we had a pretty good look at the wicket, just wanted to have another look today 24 hours on. It hasn’t really changed…they’ve taken a bit more grass off it. It looks a bit more like an SCG wicket of 10-15 years ago I think.

“It’s a huge connection to India – I think with fast bowling, reverse swing is going to come into it, which we can expect in India – and we’ll probably get more spin overs here.

“Our batters are obviously going to face more spin here as well. It’s a really good connection.

“Even personally, captaining here might be different to the last few Test matches…it’s good preparation for India.”

Australia are set for a massive tour of India beginning in February, with four Test matches to decide the prized Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Agar has never played a Test match on home soil, but looks set to return to the side after a lengthy absence when Cummins confirms the XI at the toss on Wednesday morning. 

The Daily Telegraph reports that not only will Agar return to the fold, but Renshaw will also come into the side as a specialist batsman given the unknown nature of the SCG pitch. 

“Potentially [he will play]…obviously we picked him in the squad as a second spinner,” Cummins said.

“Chatting to the groundskeepers, this wicket is quite different to past years.

“The AFL played a bit longer. The World Cup, the weather. They just haven’t been able to have the preparation of past years.

“The Shield games are pretty good indicators here.”

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