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Agar eyes Test return after Lehmann hints at deploying two spinners

132   //    22 Aug 2017, 20:03 IST
ashtonagar - cropped
Australia spinner Ashton Agar

Ashton Agar looks set to get the nod to make his Test return in Dhaka on Sunday after Darren Lehmann hinted Australia will go with two spinners in the first match with Bangladesh.

Agar has not featured in the five-day format since the 2013 Ashes series in England when he played twice, scoring 98 and taking two wickets on debut at Trent Bridge.

His Test outings stopped after the second game at Lord's with Australia finding themselves 2-0 down - they went on to lose the series 3-0 - and Agar has never been used again.

Steve O'Keefe had been ahead of Agar and impressed with 19 wickets at an average of 23.26 in India, but has seemingly been dropped following "highly inappropriate comments" at an awards ceremony in April.

And that appears to have handed Agar another chance after Lehmann suggested he may look to deploy an extra spin option alongside Nathan Lyon.

"That [selection] decision will be made later, once we start to have a look at the Test wicket and the conditions. Most likely, I think we'll play two spinners," the Australia coach told a media conference.

And Agar looks to be at the front of the queue, ahead of the uncapped Mitchell Swepson.

"His [Agar] length is a lot better, he had a good [Sheffield] Shield season last year," added Lehmann.

"Young Swepson is a good prospect as a leg spinner, young [Jon] Holland back home has bowled well, it's really tight between all the spinners but Ashton himself has batted really well, he's a gun fielder and he's got his length right with the ball, so we're really pleased for him.

"Steve [O'Keefe] was excellent over there [in India] but we've decided to go with Ashton. 

"Ashton has got the all-round game to take him to the next level, so if you wanted to play three quicks he could bat up the order, for example, he gives us a lot of flexibility in that way."

Agar himself is relishing the opportunity and intends to grab it with both hands should it come to fruition.

"It depends on what the wicket looks like but I'm ready to go if I get the nod," said Agar.

"It's really pleasing to be around the Test group. It's what you want to do and it's a great bunch of guys to be around. 

"I've got a good idea on how I'd like to bowl if my opportunity comes out here. I think I've prepared really well."

Meanwhile, Sunil Joshi has joined the Bangladesh coaching staff as a spin consultant for the two-match series, though there is an option to extend the deal.

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