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“I think we’ll play the spinner”
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon is likely to retain his spot in the Ashes squad for third Test in Perth, despite conditions there being highly pace-friendly.
With temperatures in Perth set to be 38 degrees on the first three days, 39 on the fourth day and 37 on the fifth and final day, Australia head coach Darren Lehmann is pondering over whether he should include all-rounder James Faulkner in the side in order to help ease the pressure on the pace trio of Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson.
However, even though the wicket in Perth may offer more assistance to pace bowlers, Lyon has taken six wickets in the first two Tests at a respectable average of 34.16.
“We’ll have to look at the wicket first and foremost, see what it’s like,” Lehmann said. “If we think it warrants him [Faulkner] playing and the four quicks so be it.
“But, look, it’s going to be hot weather here – it’s 35 and getting up to 40 on Monday – so we’ll probably…I think we’ll play the spinner. Again, we’ve got to work out who has pulled up fit from the last Test match, so good question. We’ll see what happens.”
The curator of the WACA, Matt Page, stated that the bowlers will get a lot of pace and bounce throughout the five days.
“With the weather we’re going to get – 37, 38 – it’s pretty conducive and will bake the surface and definitely help it go through better,” Page said. “I’m pretty confident there’ll be some pace and bounce. The last Shield games here have been quite good. I’m confident it will be exactly the same.”
Johnson played a Sheffield Shield match at the WACA in early November and claimed a five-wicket haul, but Page delivered some chilling news to England, stating that the left-arm pace bowler could get even more assistance from the pitch during the upcoming Test match.
“He only played one Shield game here – first game of the season – and he was pretty happy with it,” Page said. “I think this one will be quicker than that one was.
“Spinning-wise you’ll get the footmarks day four, day five. You’ll get a bit of turn out of there. Spinners here normally get the bounce more than anything.”