Australia’s Test hopefuls are getting their chance to impress national selectors on Wednesday with the start of a tour match between the Prime Minister’s XI and the West Indies.
The PM’s XI started strongly, finishing the first session without loss on 0-93, with Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw on 54 and 38 respectively.
The four-day day-night match in Canberra serves as the main preparation for the West Indies, who take on Australia in two Tests from next Wednesday.
But it’s also a big opportunity for 11 Australians who hold ambitions of earning a baggy green, or returning to the Test XI.
Also looking to impress is fellow exiled Test batter Matt Renshaw, and Victoria’s Peter Handscomb.
Meanwhile, young South Australia opener Henry Hunt will play, along with Josh Inglis, who was narrowly overlooked in favour of Alex Carey at the Ashes.
With David Warner edging closer to his Test retirement, Hunt is looking to throw his hat into the ring to replace him at the top of the order.
“He’s got the game (for Test cricket). There’s no doubt about that,” SA coach Jason Gillespie said, as per ESPNCricinfo.
“He’s learning all the time. He asks a lot of questions. He works really, really hard at his game. He’s very specific in his preparations, how he goes about it. He applies himself. He has a real clear plan, commits to it and shows fight.”
With the ball, Ashton Agar and 22-year-old Todd Murphy will look to push their case to be on the plane to India early next year for a Test tour.
Australia’s fast-bowling options will include one-Test player Michael Neser, Mark Steketee and Joel Paris, who played two ODIs for Australia in 2016.
Sean Abbott and Aaron Hardie fill two all-rounder positions.
PM’s XI: Matt Renshaw, Marcus Harris, Henry Hunt, Peter Handscomb, Josh Inglis, Aaron Hardie, Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, Joel Paris, Mark Steketee, Todd Murphy
WEST INDIES: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Raymon Reifer, Nkrumah Bonner, Devon Thomas, Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva, Roston Chase, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales.