Australia goes with two spinners in 3rd test vs West Indies
SYDNEY (AP) It was a decision a decade in the making: Australia selected Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe for the third test against the West Indies, marking the first time since 2006 that it has named two specialist spinners for a home test.
Captain Steve Smith said Saturday that O'Keefe would replace pace bowler Peter Siddle, who has ankle soreness, in the only change to the team which beat the Caribbean side by 177 runs in the second test at Melbourne, clinching the series.
Australia won the first test at Hobart by an innings and 212 runs.
The test at the Sydney Cricket Ground – the country's most spin-friendly international venue – begins Sunday. The last time Australia employed two spinners in a home test was at the same ground 10 years ago, when Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill played.
The Malaysian-born left-armer O'Keefe played his only test at Dubai against Pakistan in October 2014, when he took four wickets.
Smith said Siddle's ankle ''still isn't 100 percent.''
''He felt it wasn't best for him to come into this test match the way he is at the moment,'' Smith said. ''He's a great team man and felt he would be letting the team down. We were probably going to go the two spinners option anyway.''
In that 2006 match, Australia beat South Africa by eight wickets to clinch a three-test series, but Warne and MacGill both struggled.
Warne took 2-106 and MacGill 1-102 in South Africa's declared first innings, while Warne went wicketless and MacGill took 3-33 in six overs in the second innings.
West Indies skipper Jason Holder, who is expected to wait until just before Sunday morning's toss to finalize his team, said Australia's twin-spin option could help his side.
''We have been accustomed to a lot of spin in the Caribbean, so hopefully our batsmen can get into that a lot better than we have during this series,'' Holder said Saturday.
''We are basically down to one spinner (Jomel Warrican) with (Devendra) Bishoo being unavailable for this test match. So we just have to work with what we have.''
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns, Steve Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitchell Marsh, Peter Nevill, James Pattinson, Steve O'Keefe, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.
West Indies (from): Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Rajendra Chandrika, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Shai Hope, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Jomel Warrican.