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Maddinson out, Agar and O'Keefe in for SCG

AAP logoAAP 30/12/2016 Michael Ramsey

Australia will take three spin options towards Tuesday's third Test against Pakistan in Sydney, with Steve O'Keefe and Ashton Agar joining Nathan Lyon in the 13-man squad for the SCG.

But newcomer Nic Maddinson has run out of chances after struggling at No.6 in his first three Tests.

South Australian seamer Chadd Sayers has also been dumped but uncapped allrounder Hilton Cartwright remains in the squad after Australia's quicks again took on a heavy workload in Melbourne.

With the hosts wrapping up a 2-0 series win with their last-gasp victory in the Boxing Day Test, the dead-rubber in Sydney shapes as an audition for the spinners ahead of February's tour of India.

O'Keefe, who showed promise during Australia's tour of Sri Lanka before injuring his hamstring, is well-placed to earn selection at his home ground.

But Australia coach Darren Lehmann's belief that fellow left-arm spinner Agar has the potential to be a genuine allrounder may tip the balance in his favour.

The 23-year-old famously scored 98 on debut against England at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes and has a first-class batting average of 26.41 compared to O'Keefe's 11.00.

"He's made Shield hundreds and obviously batted well in that Test match at No.11," Lehmann said on Friday.

"He's certainly got the talent to be a batting allrounder or a spinning allrounder, either way."

Either way, Lyon's position is safe despite having arrived at the MCG under immense pressure.

Lyon had been in the midst of a form slump dating back to the Sri Lanka tour but a pivotal three-wicket spell on day five in Melbourne has ensured he will play in Sydney.

"He bowled beautifully today. There's no reason why he wouldn't," Lehmann said.

"I thought he was outstanding. He bowled consistent line and length, which he was sort of up and down with in the previous few Test matches, and really got through the middle order so I'm pleased for him."

While Maddinson's Test career has reached a standstill, fellow newcomers Matt Renshaw and Peter Handscomb have earned the selectors' faith since coming in after the disastrous second Test against South Africa in Hobart last month.

The desire for consistency has kept Shaun Marsh out of the squad for now, although he is likely to be included for the tour of India.

"There was (some consideration) but we decided to keep him playing BBL," Lehmann said.

"Obviously Matt's done a reasonable job for us in Test matches so we're going to go with that same opening combination for the last one."

Australia's 13-man squad: Matt Renshaw, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Jackson Bird, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Agar, Steve O'Keefe.

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