December 30, 2017 / 1:35 AM / a year ago

Australia recall spinner Agar for Sydney Ashes test

Cricket - Australia Nets - Lords - 16/7/13 Australia's Ashton Agar during nets Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Boyers Livepic/Files

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar has been recalled to Australia’s squad for the fifth Ashes test in Sydney as the hosts ponder a twin-spin attack against England for the dead rubber.

The 24-year-old, who played his last test against Bangladesh in Chittagong in September, has been included alongside regular spinner Nathan Lyon for the Jan. 4 match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc, who missed the ongoing Melbourne test due to a heel injury, and middle order batsman Peter Handscomb, who was dropped from the side after the second Adelaide test, have been retained in the 14-man squad.

Agar broke a finger during Australia’s limited-overs tour of India in September but returned to domestic action earlier this month.

If Starc proves his fitness, Agar could be included at the expense of seam bowling all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.

Agar’s inclusion will fan speculation that 33-year-old left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe’s international career is over despite his appearance in five tests on the subcontinent this year and his match-winning 12-wicket haul against India in Pune.

O’Keefe was belatedly called up for the Bangladesh tour after paceman Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the Chittagong test with a side strain, but selectors have made no secret of their desire to look to groom a young spinner for the long term.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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