Sri Lanka in Australia, 2007-08 November 5, 2007

Bowl-off beckons for MacGill

Cricinfo staff

'I didn't do myself any favours last week playing Queensland' © Getty Images

Australia's spin position for the first Test on Thursday is one of the most serious issues for team management, but Stuart MacGill took a light-hearted view of his spot on the opening day of squad training. MacGill was thrashed by Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds during a Pura Cup match last week and when the performance was combined with concerns over his fitness the selectors added Brad Hogg to the 13-man outfit.

Hogg and MacGill, who is recovering from minor knee surgery, went head-to-head in a centre-wicket practice at Allan Border Field before MacGill was a guest speaker at a corporate function. "I didn't do myself any favours last week playing Queensland," he said. "Haydos and Symmo were batting and I threw up a few pies - I thought it was part of the team love thing - and they belted me. So the selectors didn't like that too much and now I'm in a bowl-off."

An Australian 13-man squad is usually trimmed by one two days before the match and it is likely one of the spinners will be sent back to their state for the round of first-class matches. While Ricky Ponting may consider four fast bowlers for the receptive Gabba surface, MacGill is the favourite to win selection and gain the chance to replace Shane Warne.

"I'm not ready to finish yet, whether it's for Australia or New South Wales," MacGill said. "I can't wait to get into the swing of things because it feels like it's been stop-start. And if it's not Warney in front of me it's someone else popping their head up, like Hoggy has this week."