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Siddle staking claim for Test recall

Cricket

It’s the million-dollar question facing Australia’s Test selectors which veteran allrounder Dan Christian reckons is a no-brainer.

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With spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood locked in for Thursday’s first Test against South Africa, the selection panel must decide whether to name Peter Siddle or Jackson Bird as third seamer.

The pair have gone head to head in Victoria’s Sheffield Shield day-night clash with Tasmania at the MCG and are both likely to feature in the 12-man Australian squad to be named today.

Bird took advantage of his opportunity to impress with the pink ball with figures of 3-75 and 3-59 in Victoria’s two innings.

With a day’s play remaining at the end of Thursday, Siddle had two wickets for the match but has sent down 17 overs compared to Bird’s 43.

The 31-year-old seamer’s workload has been managed in his return to first-class cricket after suffering a stress fracture in his back in February but Siddle’s Victorian teammates were only too happy to make the case for his Test recall.

“I’ve seen a lot of him recently when he’s played for us, last year and this year, and he’s just a class above, I think,” Christian said.

“He should probably be in the Australian team all the time.

“When you’ve got someone like Starc at the other end bowling 150kph and swinging it around … Sidds has done that (holding) role for six or seven years.

“He’s got 200 Test wickets. He’s a proven performer so hopefully he gets another opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Travis Head said there is no reason why West Australian batsman Shaun Marsh should be dropped from the Test side to take on South Africa.

The South Australian skipper had a front row seat in Perth this week as Marsh showed off his form and the national ODI squad member was suitably impressed.

While the Redbacks will cruise to victory, Marsh has been outstanding, with scores of 73 in the first innings and 110 on yesterday.

Head said that the way he has batted this week – and considering he hit 130 in his and Australia’s last Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo – should ensure Marsh retains his place in Darren Lehmann’s team.

“He played fantastic. He also played really well in Sri Lanka; he was in good form there and that hasn’t changed,” he said.

“He drove the ball really well (today). His shot selection was good and he was watchful.

“We bowled really well to him in the first innings and even in the second innings they tested him.

“But when the ball was moving around on day one, it was tough going and he played brilliantly – better than he batted today.”

Head said that as the wicket improved on Thursday Marsh started to play more shots and show just how good his form is.

After a score of 66 in the Redbacks’ first innings, Head’s name may also start to cross the minds of the Test selectors.

But he says a couple of his bowlers must be being considered as well.

Chadd Sayers took 4-57 on Thursday, including the wickets of Australian batsmen Shaun and Mitch Marsh and Adam Voges.

He also dismissed in-form number three Michael Klingerand at one stage took 3-0 in three overs and was on a hat-trick.

In the first innings Joe Mennie did the damage, with 3-56, including all batsmen in the top six.

“I think the two of them are definitely put their names right up there,” Head said.

“We needed to break the top four, which is WA’s strength; they are all class. And we were able to do that.”

-AAP

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