Six Aussie Test spots open, says Taylor
Photo Source: AP
Less than half of the Australian Test team have done enough to guarantee their spots for the first match of the home summer against South Africa next month, according to former captain Mark Taylor.
Australia were embarrassed in a 3-0 Test series defeat to Sri Lanka in August when batting frailties to spin bowling were starkly exposed, and while pitch conditions in Perth will be far different, the 104-Test veteran believes there are plenty of spots in the XI up for grabs.
Taylor identified captain Steve Smith, opening batsman David Warner, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and pace duo Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood as players who "pick themselves" for the WACA Test starting on November 3.
"I don't think there's anyone else absolutely penned in at the moment," Taylor told Cricket Australia's cricket.com.au's The Unplayable Podcast.
"The depth's not quite as good as we hoped it would be at this stage."
Top-order batsmen Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja lost their spots for the third Test on the ill-fated tour of Sri Lanka, while Colombo centurion Shaun Marsh is recovering from a finger injury.
Middle-order batsman Adam Voges doesn't have age on his side, allrounder Mitch Marsh continues to show promise but can't break through with a big score and offspinner Nathan Lyon was disappointing as Sri Lanka's spinners thrived.
Moises Henriques and Jon Holland also played in the third Test in Colombo but are almost certain not to get the nod against the Proteas.
"It'll come down to some of these Matador Cup (domestic one-day cup) matches and that round of (Sheffield) Shield games will be vitally important," Taylor said.
"They've got to prove their selection."
Taylor said Burns and Khawaja would come back into calculations due to strong performances during the previous home summer against New Zealand and the West Indies.
South Africa will arrive in Perth for the opening clash of the three-Test series full of confidence after this week completing a 5-0 hammering of No.1-ranked Australia in the one-day series at home.