Australia drop vice-captain Mitchell Marsh for first Test against India

Sport360 staff 13:15 05/12/2018
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Mitchell Marsh.

Australia have dropped vice-captain Mitchell Marsh for the first Test against India, which begins in Adelaide on Thursday.

All-rounder Marsh’s form has been shaky in recent series against South Africa and Pakistan, and Travis Head and Peter Handscomb have been named ahead of him in Australia’s 12-man squad.

“Mitch Marsh has not been as consistent as he would like and we would like,” said Australia captain Tim Paine.

“We know the talent that Mitch has and we know that most likely at some stage in this series we will need him. We are taking the opportunity at the moment to go back and play a Shield game and get some cricket under his belt.”

Meanwhile, Marcus Harris will make his debut at the top of the order, alongside Aaron Finch, with Usman Khawaja returning to the No 3 slot.

“He can play his shots but he’s also really improved his defence. He’s come a long way as a batsman,” Paine said of Harris.

Khawaja will play despite the shock arrest of his brother on Tuesday, for allegedly framing a rival in a fake terror plot. He was not in the nets on Wednesday, though he usually avoids a heavy workload on the eve of a Test.

“We’re keeping an eye on Uzzie, obviously it was a little bit of shock for him yesterday,” coach Justin Langer told SEN radio.

“That said, he’s got good support around him. He’ll be as cool and calm as usual out on the middle.”

Arsalan Khawaja was released on bail in Sydney after appearing in court for charges of forgery and attempting to pervert justice.

Meanwhile, Shaun Marsh will bat at four, with Handscomb at five and Head at six.

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