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Baggy greens on the line in Shield opener

AAP logoAAP 24/10/2016

The players with the most on the line heading into the first round of the Sheffield Shield.

* JOE BURNS

After scores of 3, 29 and 0, the Queensland opener was dropped for the final Test in Sri Lanka. He averaged 36.1 from seven innings during the one-day cup and is in a shootout with Usman Khawaja and Cameron Bancroft to partner David Warner at the top of the order.

*USMAN KHAWAJA

After a sublime 2015-16 in which he came of age, Khawaja fell back to earth when he was dropped for the third Test of Australia's disastrous tour of Sri Lanka. He slammed his axing as "fickle" and said he was made a scapegoat - and now he needs to back up his words.

* CAMERON BANCROFT

The right-handed West Australian has been nominated by Steve Waugh as an Aussie bolter and is pushing for a spot in the Perth Test. He notched two 50s in the recent one-day cup and averaged 45 in last year's Sheffield Shield.

* MITCHELL STARC

The left-armer is expected to lead Australia's attack at the WACA next week but must prove his fitness after a training accident last month that badly lacerated his leg. He may only play half a Shield game for NSW and will be restricted in the field.

* PETER SIDDLE

The leading contender for the third Australian bowling spot but is still on the comeback trail after being hampered by ankle and back injuries during the winter. Made three appearances for Victoria during the one-day cup including the final.

* JACKSON BIRD

The Tasmanian right-armer will have a head-to-head duel with Siddle at the MCG during the first Shield round for a spot in the Australian pace battery. He had a lean one-day cup campaign which yielded just four wickets from six matches. However with 21 Test scalps (at an average of 25.28) the selectors know what he can do.

* SHAUN MARSH

Came into the Test side and scored 130 against Sri Lanka after Khawaja and Burns were dropped but could be squeezed out again. Suffered a hamstring injury during the one-day cup and must prove his fitness.

*PETER NEVILL

While he's considered a lock for the Test side, the Aussie keeper has hardly set the world on fire of late. He averaged 8.5 in Sri Lanka and 22.5 on the tour of New Zealand earlier in the year. The selectors will want more out of him.

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