Australian batsman Joe Burns returns to the pavilion after being dismissed against Sri Lanka.
Australian batsman Joe Burns returns to the pavilion after being dismissed against Sri Lanka. Eranga Jayawardena

Test spots on the line, says Taylor

CRICKET: At least six spots in the Australian team are up for grabs for the first Test against South Africa next month, according to former captain Mark Taylor.

Taylor said only captain Steve Smith, opening batsman David Warner, wicketkeeper Peter Nevill and pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were certainties for the WACA Test starting on November 3.

This follows the embarrassing 3-0 Test series loss to Sri Lanka in August, when the side's weakness against spin was exposed.

"The depth's not quite as good as we hoped it would be at this stage,” Taylor told cricket.com.au.

Top-order batsmen Joe Burns and Usman Khawaja lost their spots for the third Test on the Sri Lanka tour, while Shaun Marsh, who scored a century in Colombo, is recovering from a finger injury.

Middle-order batsman Adam Voges is in his late 30s, all-rounder Mitch Marsh can't post a big score and off-spinner Nathan Lyon didn't match Sri Lanka's slow bowlers.

Moises Henriques and Jon Holland also played in the third Test in Colombo but are almost certain to miss the Test team.

"It'll come down to some of these Matador Cup (domestic one-day cup) matches and that round of (Sheffield) Shield games will be vitally important,” Taylor said. "They've got to prove their selection.”

Taylor said Burns and Khawaja would come back into calculations due to strong performances during the previous home summer against New Zealand and the West Indies.

South Africa will be full of confidence after belting the No.1-ranked Australian one-day team 5-0 at home.


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