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News

'Wild Thing' Lance Morris earns Australia Test call-up

Morris and Queenslander Michael Neser added to the squad for the second Test against West Indies in Adelaide as cover with doubts remaining over Pat Cummins

Lance Morris' pace almost conjured a remarkable victory  •  Getty Images

Lance Morris' pace almost conjured a remarkable victory  •  Getty Images

Lance Morris, the Western Australia pace bowler who is rated the quickest bowler in Australia, has been called up into the squad alongside Queensland seamer Michael Neser as bowling reinforcement for the second Test against West Indies in Adelaide.
Morris, 24, has had an outstanding Sheffield Shield season where he is the leading wicket-taker with 27 and 18.40. He almost bowled WA to a remarkable victory at the Gabba on Sunday.
Dubbed 'The Wild Thing' - in a nod to former tearaway Shaun Tait - after bursting onto the scene five years ago during a tour game against England at the WACA, where he notably bowled a wayward short delivery first up to Joe Root, Morris has developed a reputation for testing the speed radar.
"I'm an attacking and intimidating bowler," Morris told ESPNcricinfo earlier in the season. "I can get to the early 150s [kph]. I'm just settling into my body now. They say around 26 is when you basically mature as a bowler. I've got still room to get faster."
Australia have called up reinforcements after captain Pat Cummins was unable to bowl in the second innings in Perth due to a quad injury although he did return to the field. He is confident of being fit for the day-night Test but with a packed schedule the selectors are unlikely to take risks.
"Was he at risk out there doing what he was doing? No," head coach Andrew McDonald said. "He was able to manage the tempo in which he ran. We felt as though him being out there was helping us so that we were in control of the game.
"We can we can leave it right up to the to the toss if we want [to see if he will play]. He's our captain, we're going to give him every chance to get out there, and...even the way he marshalled the troops out there was impressive."
Whether Morris cracks into the XI remains to be seen with Scott Boland, who averages 9.55 in Tests, already there as the reserve quick. He has not played since his stunning Ashes performance last season.
But Morris could add a point-of-difference to the attack and the selectors may consider it is worth seeing what he can do at the next level.
"I think that's probably No.1 [quickest] I've faced in my Shield career," Kurtis Patterson, the New South Wales captain, said earlier this season. "He was fast and it was No.1 in terms of absolutely consistent pace."
Morris also gave the Indians a working over during a T20 World Cup match in Perth earlier in the summer.
"The more I bowl, the more I feel like I'm really grasping what being a fast bowler is all about," he said. "Hopefully I can keep getting better and continue to bowl fast because it's a lot of fun."
McDonald is wary of the workload on the quick bowlers with five Tests against West Indies and South Africa in less than six weeks.
"Bowling last and a short turn-around, put stress and strain on your bowling stock," he said. "We know we've got other guys that are there ready and available. See how our guys pull up and then move from there.
"At the moment as it sits they've pulled up well, both Josh and Mitch. Patty's obviously the major concern, and we erred on the side of caution with him."
Neser played his one and only Test match to-date in last year's Adelaide day-night Test when Cummins was ruled out with Covid.
Squad David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Michael Neser, Lance Morris, Marcus Harris