x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Australia coach leaves 'every option open' for third Test selection

spinner Nathan Lyon will take Ashton Agar's place as visitors get last chance to tinker in last three-day practice game against Sussex.

Nathan Lyon will have to do well at Sussex to impress his way into the playing XI. AP Photo
Nathan Lyon will have to do well at Sussex to impress his way into the playing XI. AP Photo

Darren Lehmann will make more changes for Australia's tour match against Sussex in a final bid to find the right blend before the third Ashes Test.

Head coach Lehmann's side trail 2-0 in the series after defeats at Trent Bridge and Lord's, meaning England can retain the urn and win the series when the sides reconvene at Old Trafford on August 1.

The problems facing the tourists are considerable, starting with the limp performances of the top-order batsmen, but extending to their consistently muddled use of the Decision Review System and a number of off-field issues that are threatening to overshadow the main job of playing cricket.

One three-day match against Sussex at Hove, starting on Friday, might not be enough for them to get everything back on track, but it is the best chance Australia have.

Captain Michael Clarke made no attempt to hide the fact that the Baggy Greens are struggling when assessing the overwhelming 347-run defeat at the home of cricket and Lehmann is singing from the same hymn sheet.

He has already used 13 of his 18-man squad in the first two Tests and pledged to give at least two more reserve wicketkeeper Matthew Wade and spinner Nathan Lyon the chance to impress against Sussex.

The likes of Jackson Bird, James Faulkner and David Warner the bad-boy batsman who will return from Australia A duty in time for the third Test have also been told they could be needed as the selectors scramble for a winning formula.

"I say all the time, the whole 18 have a chance to play," Lehmann said. "I'm not ruling anything out. That is what happens when you have two losses, every option is open.

"As selectors, Rod [Marsh], John [Inverarity] and I will have to speak about it and see where we come to.

"Ashton [Agar] is a bit sore and I don't think he will play in Sussex, so Nathan Lyon will play obviously. Then we just have to look at the wicket [at Old Trafford] because history shows it spins a bit.

"If it's going to spin, we will certainly have a look at two spinners. Wade will play in the tour match too."

Australia's batsmen have mostly proved far too flimsy.

"We actually need to get some results, because that would stop all the talk and make people realise we are going the right way," Lehmann said. "We accept the criticism, we deserve the criticism to be fair. But we've got to make sure we're going in the right direction, so those sorts of things I just brush off."

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