Swepson out to impress in Australia A clash
AdvertisementINDIA A V AUSTRALIA A - FOUR-DAY Test spots up for grabs in final Australia A clash
Second and final four-day match against India A underway as fringe Test players look to push their case for upcoming Pakistan series
Australia A return to action in Bengaluru today with some key players eager for a final chance to stake their claim for a coveted Test berth.
Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Jon Holland, and Michael Neser all put in key performances in the city last week in a match Australia A won by 98 runs.QUICK SINGLE subjectTest ticket not on Doggett's radar
The rematch, in the same city but at the nearby KSCA Stadium, offers a tantalising mix of opportunity.
There will be a spot in the second chance saloon for Peter Handscomb, who will also take the gloves for the match with Alex Carey returning home for the birth of his child.
And fresh chances to impress for the likes of Matthew Renshaw â" who returns from a hamstring complaint, which creates a potentially telling selection dynamic in the top six â" and the spinners who missed the first game: Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson.
Holland and Khawaja were both rested for Saturday's match, it was confirmed at the toss, with quick Joel Paris also missing due to a back complaint.
Swepson is no stranger to India, having toured with the Test squad last year, and says he returns a more mature bowler as he continues his journey from fringe squad member and net bowler to a full-fledged Test player.
"I haven't had much conversation about that (UAE) tour specifically but it's pretty obvious what they're after," Swepson said Friday.
"They're after guys to perform and take wickets and contribute to winning games for the team. If a spinner can do that then you're doing the best you can to get selected.
"I was really happy with the one-day series. I think we played some great cricket and personally the ball was coming out really well.
"I started really well which was a real positive for me, it's something I haven't been great at in the past.
"I'll take that into the red-ball stuff as well because over here on these wickets it's key to start well as a spinner and apply pressure right from ball one."
Swepson has never had Handscomb keep to his bowling before, but the Queenslander said he was confident it would pose no issue.
"He's kept in a lot of games of cricket and it will be like riding a bike for him, he'll get straight into it," Swepson said. "I'm confident that he'll enjoy it â¦ but it might be a long four days on the legs for him."
Handscomb will be keen to atone for the first ball duck and dismissal for 8 in the first match, and finds his spot in the middle order under increasing pressure following the emergence of Labuschagne.
The South African-born Queenslander was a late addition to the Australia A first-class squad, having been asked to stay on in India when Renshaw's hamstring tightened. He turned the opportunity into knocks of 60 and 37, impressing with temperament as much as technique, and more runs for him at the KSCA Stadium could make a maiden Test tour a very real possibility.
Renshaw, having missed the final two one-day games and the initia l first-class clash, came through training on match eve and was "looking great".
"I think he's feeling good and he looked great in the nets today, sweeping well and everything," Swepson said.
The opener is expected to feature against Pakistan, possibly alongside Queensland teammate Joe Burns, and a solid hit out in Bengaluru would ease selectors' worries.
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