Finch Dropped from Steve Waugh's XI for Sydney Test

His last Test was in South Africa previous year after being hastily flown over following the Cape Town ball tampering scandal.

Australia's woeful batting in the match, which they lost by 137 runs, also focused attention on how much Smith and Warner were missed.

"I think it's pretty ridiculous at the moment", Cummins said at Kirribilli House on New Year's Day where the Australian and Indian teams met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Beyond the returns of Smith and Warner, it is not hard to picture a top five featuring the banned duo, Khawaja, Harris and Travis Head.

The three stars are, however, likely to be rested from Australia's three-match ODI series against India to ensure they are cherry ripe for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, which starts in Brisbane on January 24.

Langer said: "Try being a selector at the moment".

"I think what they're looking at is the fact he took seven wickets on that (UAE) tour and it gives them another spin option to back up Nathan Lyon if they think that option is going to be more handy for Sydney rather than the all-round seam option of Mitch Marsh", Katich said on Wednesday.

Smith and Warner could possibly make their comebacks in a one-day worldwide in late March, when Australia have pencilled in a series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

Their exile has left a big void in the Test team.

Meanwhile, another former Australian skipper, Ricky Ponting, has suggested Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja to open the innings for the hosts, followed by Shaun Marsh.

"The guys have almost finished their bans and almost done their time, so I think it's time we started focusing on the fact that they're coming back and from that there are some real positives", he said after defeat at the MCG. "We will see how they line up", he added.

The defeat in Melbourne came in Paine's sixth Test match as Australia captain after replacing Steve Smith, who was banned along with David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March.

For India, the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli will be the main focus. Kohli dropped three points despite a first innings score of 82 in the third Test in Melbourne, but still enjoys a 34-point lead over Kane Williamson.

"We're having a really long summer now, there's a small window for IPL then we've got four and a half months of World Cup and Ashes", he said. Not only that, the well balanced Indian side played well and the bowlers did their part in getting the other team all out as fast as possible. "Our guys are learning that, or hopefully they are learning that".

  • Stacy Allen