Heav­ens above! Rain may thwart Aussie fight­back

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

HO­BART: Skip­per Steve Smith said yes­ter­day he may play with just four bowlers as rain threat­ens Aus­tralia’s chances of re­bound­ing from their maul­ing against South Africa in the sec­ond Test from Satur­day. Heavy down­pours are forecast through to Mon­day’s third day in Ho­bart, which doesn’t bode well for Aus­tralia as they bid to re­cover from their 177-run thrash­ing in Perth-their fourth straight Test de­feat.

Smith’s un­der­fire side are anx­ious not to make se­lec­tion mistakes ahead of the piv­otal Ho­bart game, the sec­ond of three Tests, and the 27-year-old cap­tain has sev­eral op­tions in mind. He con­firmed that num­ber five bats­man Adam Vo­ges was fit to play af­ter ham­string trou­ble and in­di­cated Aus­tralia may line up with six rec­og­nized bats­men, throw­ing into doubt the places of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and spin­ner Nathan Lyon.

“No de­ci­sion yet (on the team), wait­ing un­til the morn­ing, hav­ing a look at the wicket again and the forecast as well,” Smith told re­porters at Bel­lerive. “The forecast isn’t great for the next cou­ple of days so we’ll wait un­til the toss.” Asked about go­ing in with just four bowlers, as rain de­lays should mean they will get plenty of rest, Smith said: “Not sure, that’s up to the se­lec­tors and they’ll de­cide to­mor­row. “We’ll wait and see. Any­thing’s pos­si­ble, it’ll wait till the morn­ing.” While that might not bode well for the chances of Marsh keep­ing his num­ber six spot, af­ter just one half-cen­tury in his last 28 Test in­nings, Smith re­mained coy.

Lyon’s share

“You might not need to have that ex­tra bowl­ing op­tion if there’s go­ing to be lots of rain around and the bowlers are go­ing to get some ad­e­quate rest with that,” he said. “There’s pos­si­bil­i­ties that we could go in with six gen­uine bats­men but we’ll wait and see in the morn­ing.” Aus­tralia were forced into two changes from the Perth Test line-up with opener Shaun Marsh break­ing a fin­ger and pace­man Peter Sid­dle suf­fer­ing a back strain. Joe Burns is ex­pected to open the in­nings with David Warner, while Joe Men­nie is likely to make his Test de­but. Tas­ma­nian pace­man Jack­son Bird has been added to the squad. — AFP

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