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Australian bowling attack spots hinge on fitness of all-rounder

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Australia is still not settled on a side for Friday’s second Test against India as the selectors ponder unleashing three spinners in Delhi.

All-rounder Cameron Green and left-arm quick Mitchell Starc are racing the clock to prove their fitness, with captain Pat Cummins saying the duo “don’t have a line through them yet”.

Green and Starc both trained well on Wednesday, according to Cummins, but the skipper said he was still uncertain whether the pair had sufficiently recovered from their finger injuries to return to the side.

If Green is passed fit, the Australians may include a left-arm spinner at the expense of Scott Boland, with the selectors open to bringing in either Ashton Agar or the recently flown over Matt Kuhnemann, Cummins said.

“Starc and Green both had good sessions yesterday, so we will assess them later on today,” Cummins said.

“I think having (an extra) right-hander helps, and I think (Green) providing a fifth bowling option also helps; he’s a big player, he certainly helps the team function well from batting and bowling.

“He’s still coming back from that injury; I think he’s only had a couple of sessions where he is catching with a hard ball … we’ll see how he pulls up.”

Cummins said the Delhi pitch had offered no surprises despite using a different soil to the first Test venue in Nagpur.

“It’s different soil here, the black soil, but it looks pretty similar. I think it’s going to spin, that’s our expectation and the wicket matches that,” he said.

He said greater bowling attack variety would be helpful, whether Starc was included or a third spinner.

“I thought last week with two pacers that attack functioned quite well as well, but whether it’s Starcy, another spinner, Scotty (Boland), that variety does help,” he said.

“It’s draining (with only four bowlers) but you can make it work. Spin bowlers can probably bowl 25 overs in a day rather than 20. I think you can get away with four bowlers.”

Cummins said Travis Head was “absolutely part of the conversation” for the second Test, after he was left out of the line-up in Nagpur for Victorian captain Peter Handscomb.

He cast doubt over theories David Warner may be most at risk of replacement by Head, saying he was “sure Davey will be there”.

“When (Warner) puts pressure back on the opposition, he’s pretty hard to bowl to; you don’t get as many good balls,” Cummins said.

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