Marcus Harris will make his Test debut against India. Picture: Getty Images
Marcus Harris will make his Test debut against India. Picture: Getty Images

Harris to debut, Mitch Marsh battling Handscomb

AUSTRALIAN coach Justin Langer's assertion Marcus Harris will likely make his Test debut in Adelaide has been backed up with a rigorous session in the nets by the Victorian rookie.

Harris padded up for over an hour to face a barrage of right-arm pace in Australia's last training session before the series against India begins on Thursday.

Harris has been locked in a selection battle with Peter Handscomb since the 14-man squad was announced but the nets session and Langer's comments have put to bed any lingering questions around whether the 26-year-old will play his maiden Test.

"We're pretty sure Marcus Harris will make his debut which is very exciting for him," Langer said on Wednesday morning.

"He's scored 500 runs in Shield cricket in eight innings, he's a terrific young player and he's looked very good in some of the most competitive net sessions I've seen."

"We'll make the decision on the last batting spot later today."

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Marcus Harris of Australia chats with Justin Langer, coach of Australia during an Australian nets session at Adelaide Oval on December 4, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Marcus Harris of Australia chats with Justin Langer, coach of Australia during an Australian nets session at Adelaide Oval on December 4, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Harris' inclusion means the last spot in the batting order will come down to Handscomb or all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.

Langer refused to comment on which player he was leaning towards but Marsh's ability as a back-up bowler to Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will be hard to move past.

 

"At this stage I'd say it'll be either Peter Handscomb or Mitchell Marsh who'll take the five or six position," Langer said.

"We'll have a look at that and come up with a decision later on today."

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh is under pressure to retain his spot for Adelaide.Picture: AAP Image
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh is under pressure to retain his spot for Adelaide.Picture: AAP Image

The inclusion of Harris as an opener alongside Victorian teammate Aaron Finch paves the way for Usman Khawaja - Australia's best batsman in a weakened side missing Steve Smith and David Warner - to return to his preferred role at first drop.

Harris will become Australia's 456th male Test cricketer if selected later on Wednesday.

~With AAP

News Corp Australia

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