Langer spills on huge selection call
Opener Marcus Harris is set to make his Test debut against India at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, Australian coach Justin Langer has confirmed.
Harris will become Australia's 456th male Test cricketer after appearing to win the selection race over Victorian teammate Peter Handscomb for the four-Test series opener.
Speaking to SEN radio on Wednesday, Langer said 26-year-old Harris had proved himself in camp and through his weight of Sheffield Shield runs.
"We're pretty sure Marcus Harris will make his debut, which is very exciting for him," he said.
"He's scored 500 runs in Shield cricket in eight innings, he's a terrific young player and he's looked very good in some of the most competitive net sessions I've seen."
The fight for the final spot in the team is now a two-horse race between Handscomb and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, with Langer and selectors to make a call later on Thursday.
"It'll be either Peter Handscomb or Mitchell Marsh who'll take the five or six position," he said.
"We'll have a look at that and come up with a decision."
The development came after India's vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane scoffed at suggestions Australia are vulnerable, saying the hosts remain favourites for the Test series starting on Thursday.
Rahane says there's no chance the Indians are taking lightly an Australian side without suspended stars Steve Smith and David Warner.
"I feel Australia are still the favourite to win this series," Rahane told reporters on Tuesday.
"Yes, they miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don't think they are vulnerable.
"Definitely Steve Smith and Warner are quality players, I am not going to take anything away from them.
"But on a given day, anyone can score a hundred.
"Usman Khawaja is equally dangerous and in their conditions, they know how the wicket behaves.
"We're not going to take Australia lightly.
"Their batsmen, yes, are not that experienced but still I feel they are equally dangerous." Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft will miss the series after being suspended for ball-tampering in South Africa last March.
And Australia's new joint vice-captain Mitch Marsh said it was obvious that Smith in particular would be sorely missed.
"(Smith) became one of my best mates in cricket over the last couple of years," Marsh told reporters on Tuesday.
"We certainly like batting together.
"He doesn't give you much out in the middle, we just had that connection and some great partnerships I'll always remember.
"When you're batting at the other end with Steve Smith it takes your mind off the fact you're out there, you can switch off and watch him do his work - pretty awesome to watch."
Rahane said Australia deserved favouritism entering the first Test because of their bowlers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. "They have got a really good bowling attack," he said.
"And I think when you are to win a Test series and Test matches you have got to have a good bowling attack."