All-rounder Hilton Cartwright will make his debut for Australia in the insignificant third Test against Pakistan in Sydney on Tuesday, with left-armer Steve O’Keefe returning to the side as a second spinner along with Nathan Lyon.
Cartwright, who has a batting average near to 45 in first class cricket, can also bowl medium pace and replaces Nic Maddinson in the side after the left-hander scored only 27 runs in his four innings in the on-going series.
Captain Steve Smith said that the 24 year old batting all-rounder Cartwright had improved his bowling considerably over the last year and thus would be used to ease the workload of frontline quicks such as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
“I remember facing him a little while ago and I think since then he’s probably gained 10kph and got a lot more consistent with his areas,” Smith told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“It just adds a little bit to the bowling stocks, and he deserves an opportunity to play at number six. I guess how much we’ll use him will depend on how the game goes,” he further added.
Bowler Jackson Bird will be replaced by O’Keefe in the only other change from the side that wrapped up the three-match series with a game to spare at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last week.
The 32-year-old edged out fellow left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who had been recalled to the squad, as the second slow-bowling option behind Lyon for the match at the SCG, which has typically produced slow, turning wickets.
“I thought (Bird) bowled particularly well in Melbourne but, look, conditions sometimes change the team,” Smith said.
Australia Playing XI: David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (captain), Peter Handscomb, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon
Photo by NAPARAZZI