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Key questions facing cricket selectors

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016

FIVE KEY QUESTIONS NATIONAL SELECTORS WILL MULL THIS WEEK

* What is of more value to the XI - Peter Siddle's experience or Joe Mennie's potential?

Mennie is every chance of making his Test debut in Hobart after Australia's quicks were forced to bowl for four consecutive days at the WACA. Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood sent down a total of 103.4 overs in Perth, but the new-ball pairing are so crucial to Australia's hopes of levelling the series it's hard to imagine either of them being rested. That leaves underdone Siddle as the man under pressure. The veteran was economical throughout the first Test but rarely looked threatening, and his pace dropped throughout the contest.

* Who opens alongside David Warner?

The skipper sets the batting order but it will be governed by the 10 players at his disposal. The most likely answer is Joe Burns. The Queenslander was somewhat unlucky to miss the cut for the first Test, having scored a Sheffield Shield ton against a NSW attack featuring Test bowlers Starc, Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. But Darren Lehmann and Steve Smith indicated in October that Usman Khawaja could flourish as an opener. Selectors could spring a surprise by naming Callum Ferguson as a replacement for Shaun Marsh, who has a broken finger.

* Does there need to be an allrounder in the XI?

Mitch Marsh's medium pace and batting potential has kept the West Australian in the side during the past year, when he has struggled for runs. Moises Henriques and Marcus Stoinis headline the leading candidates to fill the void should selectors run out of patience with Marsh and want a like-for-like replacement for the third Test. The other argument is a specalist batsman should be at No.6 in the order and Burns and Ferguson warrant call-ups in Hobart, but Rod Marsh's panel will be reluctant to further burden the side's overworked pacemen.

* What do you do with Adam Voges?

A dodgy hamstring could be an unfortunate end to Voges' 19-Test career. The 37-year-old averages 73.75 with the bat but hasn't registered a half-century in Australia's four-Test losing streak. He will be closely monitored by team medical staff but the short break between games does not bode well for the veteran. Even if Voges is passed fit and plays at Bellerive he could soon be squeezed out of the XI.

* If things go just as well in Hobart as they did in Perth, who else is there to call on for the day-night Test in Adelaide?

Cameron Bancroft has been earmarked as a future Test player but failed to reach 25 in all four of his Sheffield Shield digs this season. Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell will come under consideration, while George Bailey finished 142 not out in a recent Shield game but hasn't played Test cricket since 2014 and is 34 years old. Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers and Scott Boland are the pick of the depleted pace stocks, while spinners Ashton Agar, Steve O'Keefe and Jon Holland impressed in round two of the Shield season.

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