Aussies bolster pace stocks with Neser & ‘The Wild Thing’

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Australia have called in exciting WA tearaway Lance Morris as well as Test capped Michael Neser as back-up pace options for the second NRMA Insurance Test against the West Indies in Adelaide.

With skipper Pat Cummins under an injury cloud after not bowling yesterday as Australia claimed a 164-run win in the series opener, Morris is a surprise pick to come into contention for Thursday’s pink-ball clash.

Cummins said on Sunday he was confident he would recover from a “small strain” he suffered to his right thigh on day three of the first Test in time to retain his place, and said Scott Boland would likely replace him if he was unavailable.

Like last year’s Adelaide Test when Cummins missed after being deemed a close COVID-19 contact, Steve Smith would captain the side in that scenario. But the addition of the unheralded Morris particularly has set tongues wagging in cricket circles.

The rapid right-armer has collected 27 wickets in five matches for ladder leaders WA this Marsh Sheffield Shield season to top the wicket-takers tally, with his victims coming at an average of 18.40 and a strike-rate of 33.1.

“Michael (Neser) has been with the squad on a regular basis in past seasons and was simply outstanding in Adelaide last summer,” said selection chair George Bailey. “He has continued to perform incredibly consistently since and will be warmly welcomed back.

“Lance is another of the outstanding young fast bowlers coming through the ranks. He has genuine pace and his ability to create opportunities for wickets is a real drawcard.

“It will be great experience for him to come into the environment. Morris, 24, beat out the likes of Mark Steketee, who has also had a strong Sheffield Shield season as Neser’s sidekick at the Bulls, and Sean Abbott for a spot in the squad.—INP