AUSTRALIA has confirmed Mitchell Marsh is poised to come into the side for Peter Handscomb for the third Test, but a final call won't be made until the toss.
Steve Smith admits he's concerned about the WACA wicket proving so difficult for bowlers that an all-rounder will be necessary, and Handscomb's only hope is if there's a drastic change in conditions overnight.
Selector on duty Greg Chappell had a long chat with Handscomb in the WACA nets on Tuesday and Smith says the message to the Victorian batsman who averages 47 at Test level is to not to take his likely dropping as a slight on his form or potential.
Smith says Australia is leaning towards Marsh purely on conditions.
"Yeah it's tough and if we do go down that route then it's purely for the reasons that we think we need an extra bowler," Smith said.
"It's nothing to do with anyone's batting. It's purely for the reasons we think we need an extra bowler on this wicket and the stats suggest over the last couple of years that the bowlers have had a fairly heavy workload out on this wicket.
"We're probably leaning down that way at the moment but again it'll depend on what we think the wicket is like [Thursday] and if it's going to be hard, fast and bouncy that might again change our thinking."
Smith is hopeful for an improvement on the flat WACA deck that played host to a soul-destroying draw against New Zealand two summers ago.
But the skipper is concerned that the wicket is soft a day out from the third Test.
"(That wicket against New Zealand) was so evenly paced. It was really slow and once you got in it was almost impossible to get out," he said.
"You had to really make some bad mistakes as a batsman if you wanted to get out on that wicket.
"Let's hope it's not like that for this wicket. I think he's leaving a lot more grass on it than he probably previously has to try and get that pace in the wicket so hopefully there is a bit of pace and bounce and carry in this wicket."
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