Brutal twist for Scott Boland after history-making Test debut

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Scott Boland, pictured here celebrating with teammates after his sixth wicket of the second innings.
Scott Boland celebrates with teammates after his sixth wicket of the second innings. (Photo by Darrian Traynor - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

MCG hero Scott Boland is almost certain to be dropped for the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney despite his historic debut.

Boland was the star of the third Test for Australia, taking astonishing figures of 6-7 in the second innings as England were bundled out for just 68.

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The Victorian equalled the world record for the fastest five-wicket haul in Test history, taking just 19 balls to snare five scalps.

But selectors now face a massive headache ahead of the fourth Test at the SCG, with Boland likely to be left out.

Josh Hazlewood is pushing to be fit for his home Test, having returned to bowling in the Melbourne nets on Tuesday after a side strain.

Jhye Richardson was rested from the Boxing Day match with leg soreness, but Australia plan to have him fit for Sydney after his 5-42 in Adelaide won them the second Test.

Mitchell Starc has also been labelled Australia's best player this summer by captain Pat Cummins, but could be rested after playing in the first three Tests.

And while Boland was picked for the third Test because of his record at the MCG, leaving him out of Sydney would be one of the harshest calls in years.

Scott Boland, pictured here with the Johnny Muller medal, match ball and stump after the third Ashes Test.
Scott Boland poses with the Johnny Muller medal, match ball and stump after the third Ashes Test. (Photo by Daniel Pockett - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Mitch Swepson set for shock debut in Sydney Test?

Complicating the matter is that Cummins admitted on Tuesday that Australia are considering blooding leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson if the SCG pitch is likely to offer turn.

Theoretically, it means Hazlewood, Richardson, Starc and Boland must fit into either one or two spots as Australia's quick alongside Cummins, depending if selectors opt to play a second spinner.

"It's one of those good days where as captain I can firmly say I'm not a selector," Cummins said.

"Because good luck to them. I thought it was a really brave call by the selectors to bring in Scotty (for Melbourne). Full credit to them, they've made the right call.

"Jhye will hopefully be available, Joshy will hopefully be available. We've stlll got Michael Neser here in the squad.

"It might be a spinning track and you've got Mitchell Swepson bowling beautifully. It's a luxury at the moment."

Mitch Swepson, pictured here in action for Australia A against the England Lions.
Mitch Swepson in action for Australia A against the England Lions. (Photo by Peter Wallis/Getty Images)

The growth of Cameron Green this summer also plays into the hands of Swepson as the first frontline leg-spinner to play for Australia since Steve Smith in 2010.

Green has averaged 11 with the ball, taking seven wickets and often claiming big scalps such as Joe Root.

If selectors do opt to play two spinners they could comfortably rely on Green as the third seamer.

There could also be an added advantage of playing Swepson, given Australia have Test series in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India during the next 18 months.

"If Swepson debuted and then suddenly he's off to a subcontinent tour, you'd think that experience would be a good thing for just about everyone," Cummins said.

"Once you play one your next one's probably going to be a little bit better.

"But it's an Ashes series, we're going to pick the best 11 that we think is going to win that Test match in Sydney."

with AAP

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