You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

I'm third in the spin pecking order: Agar

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 By Justin Chadwick

Two-Test spinner Ashton Agar reckons he currently sits third in Australia's spin pecking order, but says his confidence is growing following a recent 10-wicket haul.

Agar's stocks are on the rise after he snared 6-110 and 4-31 in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield loss to NSW.

His big haul comes at a perfect time, with pressure mounting on Nathan Lyon following his limp display in the 177-run loss to South Africa in the first Test at the WACA Ground.

Lyon has been guaranteed his spot for the second Test in Hobart, starting on November 12.

But if he fails to fire there, selectors could be on the lookout for some fresh talent for the day-night Test in Adelaide later this month, or the Test series against Pakistan.

Agar hasn't featured in the Test side since making two outings during the 2013 Ashes tour of England.

And although Agar would love to wear the baggy green again, he says both Lyon and NSW tweaker Stephen O'Keefe deserve to be picked ahead of him on current form.

O'Keefe bagged eight wickets in NSW's Shield win over WA, and he also played a Test on Australia's recent tour of Sri Lanka.

"He's been more consistent than I have. I'm trying to reach that level," Agar said of O'Keefe.

"And Nathan Lyon is Australia's best spinner.

"It's pretty hard work in Test cricket, especially when you're bowling on a lot of Australian pitches.

"And it was always going to be hard work in Sri Lanka against good players of spin on pitches he wasn't that familiar with."

Agar suffered an injury scare against NSW when he damaged a finger while attempting a catch.

Scans cleared him of any fracture, and he'll be good to go for WA's Shield clash with Tasmania, starting at the WACA Ground on November 17.

Agar was sidelined for several months earlier this year after undergoing a shoulder reconstruction.

He's also been managing a bulging disc in his back.

The 23-year-old said the time spent on the sidelines following shoulder surgery allowed him to analyse the art of spin even more.

"I watched Rangana Herath bowl a lot for Sri Lanka. And I watched O'Keefe and Lyon bowl a lot," Agar said.

"I put a lot of thought into how I could take some of their elements into my game, and I've tried to replicate that a little bit. That's really helped."

If Australian selectors mull over their spin options down the track, one aspect playing in Agar's favour is his batting.

The spinner famously scored 98 on Test debut against England in 2013, and his talent with the willow has improved.

Agar now considers himself a genuine allrounder, and he scored 15 and 35 in tough conditions while batting at No.5 against NSW last week.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon