Australia likely to play uncapped off-spinner Todd Murphy for first test in Nagpur | INDvsAUS

Xtra Time Web Desk: Australia is likely to include off-spinner Todd Murphy alongside Nathan Lyon for the first test match against India in Nagpur. Keeping in mind India’s right-hand heavy batting line-up the visitors are mulling playing two off-spinners. Australian captain Pat Cummins though declined to reveal his playing XI for the series opener at the VCA stadium in Jamtha on Thursday, February 9. It looks like the visitors are not keen to reveal their cards before the start of the test match.

Cummins did suggest in his pre match conference that two specialist off-spinners could be effective against India’s right-hand-heavy team if, as expected, the Nagpur pitch takes big turn.

Murphy, from Moama on the Victoria-NSW border, has just seven first-class games under his belt. The tall spinner has had a rapid rise in Australian domestic cricket. The 22-year-old has been picking the brains of Lyon over the past week, impressing Australia’s greatest ever off-spinner during their training camp in Bangalore.

Cameron Green’s unavailability for this Test has given the visitors two more selection conundrums. Fast bowler Scott Boland is likely to replace Josh Hazlewood. If the visitors go in with three fast bowlers, then Lance Morris can also get a test cap. Else Ashton Agar can play as the third specialist spinner.

On the batting front, Peter Handscomb can be preferred over Matt Renshaw,

especially given Australia’s concerns that the Nagpur pitch could prove more difficult for left-handed batters than right-handers.

The predicted XI for Australia in the first test will be: Usman Khawaja, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Todd Murphy, Lance Morris/Ashton Agar and Scott Boland