Going into the World Test Championship final between Australia and India, Pat Cummins-led team have a selection dilemma to solve. With Josh Hazlewood ruled out due to injury, they will have to pick between Michael Neser and Scott Boland in the bowling attack.
Neser came in as Hazlewood’s replacement and Steve Smith, a vital cog in Australia’s batting department, believes he has the skills to make an impact if needed.
“(I’ve got) so much faith, he is a quality performer,” Smith said at The Oval on Monday.
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“I faced him against (County side) Glamorgan a couple of weeks ago and he bowled beautifully.
“He has got great skills and he’s added some of the inswingers we have seen him bowl when the wicket is a bit flatter.
“So he has got loads of skills and is batting nicely as well, so he is a great package. If he gets an opportunity he will certainly do a very good job.”
Scott Boland, originally in the 15-man squad for the one-off Test that gets underway on 7 June, would be making his eighth Test appearance if selected on Wednesday.
Boland, 34, has the potential to be a threat although he’s played just one Test away from home and has yet to take a wicket Australia in the long format.
“I think we will get what Scotty does pretty well,” Smith said.
“He hits a good length, hits the top of the stumps, seams the ball around, swings it if he wants to and he has got great skills as well.
“No doubt he will be a challenge if he gets the nod.”
Away from these two, rest of the Australian bowling attack is pretty clear comprising Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, captain Cummins and all-rounder Cameron Green.
Over on the other side, India could name two spinners in their attack but seam and swing is expected to be the key characteristic for the venue at this time of the year. With that in mind, Smith has earmarked Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj as primary threats.
“They have got a good mix of quality seam bowlers, with Shami and Siraj probably their two main guys,” Smith said.
“They have really good skills and the Dukes ball will suit them nicely. And then obviously their spinners as well, who bowl well in all conditions.
“So I think they have a good attack and we are going to have to play well against them this week.”
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