x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Glenn Maxwell provides spin option for Sydney Test

Australia select all-rounder as replacement for injured Shane Watson after winning Melbourne Test by innings and 201 runs.

Australia beat Sri Lanka in Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Australia beat Sri Lanka in Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

MELBOURNE // All-rounder Glenn Maxwell was drafted in to replace the injured Shane Watson in a 13-man Australia squad named yesterday for next week's final Test against Sri Lanka, which starts on January 3 in Sydney.

Maxwell, 24, gets a chance to make his Test debut after playing four one-day internationals and seven Twenty20 internationals.

Watson is out of the dead rubber after suffering a calf muscle injury while bowling in Australia's innings and 201-run victory in the second Melbourne Test, which handed them the series.

Usman Khawaja remains on standby in case captain Michael Clarke is not fit from a hamstring strain he picked up in the first Test win over Sri Lanka in Hobart.

Maxwell has scored 860 runs at 40.95 with one century and taken 25 wickets at 33.72 with his right-hand off breaks in 14 Sheffield Shield matches for Victoria since his first-class debut last season.

Selectors have the choice between Melbourne man-of-the-match Mitchell Johnson, fellow left-armer Mitchell Starc, Hobart Test man-of-the-match Peter Siddle and newcomer Jackson Bird to share the new ball in Sydney.

"We've got options," said Clarke, one of the five selectors. "If we think the wicket's going to spin we have the option of Maxwell, if we think there will be enough in there to play four fast bowlers and a spinner, we have Johnson."

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said his team needed to show more character after the tourists were bowled out for 103 in their second innings following Australia's first innings total of 460. Sri Lanka, who won the toss on the first day, had posted a score of 156.

"Today I thought we needed to buckle down and bat well," he said. "We lost two wickets in no time in the first over which gave them a lot of momentum and then we just kept losing wickets."

Jayawardene's major problem ahead of the Sydney Test is finding 11 players fit enough to play.

Veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who reached the 10,000-run landmark in Melbourne, and wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene both have fractures after being struck by Johnson deliveries and fast bowlers Chanaka Welegedara (hamstring) and Nuwan Kulasekara (ribs) are doubts.

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