Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Uncapped Western Australia all-rounder Hilton Cartwright will make his international debut in the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sydney on Tuesday.
Cartwright was initially called up for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, but did not feature in that match.
However, with the national selectors opting to drop Nic Maddinson after his failure to have an impact with the bat, Cartwright will have a chance to prove that he is the all-rounder Australia have been looking for.
On Sunday, the batting all-rounder, who also bowls medium pace, pointed out that he can lessen the workload of pace spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
“I can definitely contribute overs during a game,” he had said. “That’s always been a part of my game. The bowling’s been there. I’ve just been trying to get it to work as close to (as good) as my batting.
“I’m preparing to have that opportunity to contribute 10, 15 overs, whatever it may be, to hopefully try and cement my spot.”
Australia captain Steven Smith admitted that he has noticed a significant improvement in Cartwright’s bowling in the last 12 months.
“He’s improved (his bowling) a lot over the last year or so. He’s gained 10 kms,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, Australia have also made one other change to their squad as spinner Steve O’Keefe will take the place of seamer Jackson Bird.
O’Keefe, who last played Test cricket during Australia’s tour of Sri Lanka in July last year, was recalled for the third Test along with all-rounder Ashton Agar, who also bowls spin.
Speaking about the decision to give O’Keefe the nod ahead of Agar, Smith said: “He bowled particularly well in Melbourne, but conditions sometimes change the team. We’re playing the two spinners, traditionally out here it does take some spin.”
Agar, whose last Test for Australia came in the Ashes in July 2013, was not selected in the playing XI and as a result, he will have to continue waiting to make his comeback in the longest format.
Australia hold an unassailable 2-0 lead going into the third Test, but they will be looking to complete a 3-0 whitewash, especially after they began their summer at home with a 2-1 loss to South Africa.
The Baggy Greens are on a three-game winning streak after having lost five Tests in a row, and Smith admitted that he was delighted with the way in which his side have turned their fortunes around.
“Things have gone pretty smoothly since then. It was a pretty difficult time,” he said. “Since we made a few changes and got some new guys in, I sort of felt a shift in energy and enthusiasm. It’s come together really well. I’ve been really proud of the way we’ve played.”
Australia squad for third Test: David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Peter Handscomb, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade (wk), Mitchell Starc, Steve O’Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon