Australia have eye on future, chasing Pakistan whitewash

Hilton Cartwright of Australia in the nets during an Australian training session. Photo/Getty Images
Hilton Cartwright of Australia in the nets during an Australian training session. Photo/Getty Images

Hilton Cartwright will make his test debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground, while Steve O'Keefe has pipped Ashton Agar to claim the final spot in the Australian cricket line-up for their third clash with Pakistan.

Cartwright will replace Nic Maddinson at No.6 in a reshuffled batting order, while left-arm spinner O'Keefe has taken unlucky paceman Jackson Bird's spot in the side for the game that starts on Tuesday.

"He bowled particularly well in Melbourne, but conditions sometimes change the team," skipper Steve Smith said of Bird.

"We're playing the two spinners, traditionally out here it does take some spin."

Smith added allrounder Cartwright, the 24-year-old son of a Zimbabwean tobacco farmer, deserved his call-up. He has played a total of 16 first-class games, averaged 74.75 with the ball and 36.6 with the bat in the first half of the current Sheffield Shield season.

"He's improved [his bowling] a lot over the last year or so, he's gained 10km/h," said Smith, who admitted selectors had one eye on an upcoming four-test tour of India, when they settled on the XI for the clash in Sydney.

The 27-year-old, who will play his 50th test this week, spoke with great pride about the team's turnaround, since snapping a five-test losing streak this summer.

"Things have gone pretty smoothly since then, it was a pretty difficult time," Smith said.

"Since we made a few changes and got some new guys in, I sort of felt a shift in energy and enthusiasm.

"It's come together really well. I've been really proud of the way we've played."

Australia are chasing a 3-0 whitewash at the SCG, having already wrapped up a series win with victories at the Gabba and MCG.

Australia XI: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Hilton Cartwright, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Steve O'Keefe, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

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