Former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, who lashed out at Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson for his poor captaincy in the Boxing Day Test at MCG, has suggested dropping all-rounder Mitchell Santner from the side for the third Test at Sydney. Mitchell Santner has not had a good series, both with the ball and the bat, so far Down Under and has struggled to produce the magic for which he was picked in the side. Australia sealed the series 2-0 with a huge win in the second Test, leaving New Zealand red-faced.
According to local media reports, Brendon McCullum suggested Santner should drop out of the third Test and should go back and work on his game. The former Kiwi skipper explained that every player went through such a phase and that all players would have been dropped at different points in their career. McCullum further backed Santner and said that just because he was dropped did not mean he couldn't play at that level but merely indicated that some work had to be done to improve himself.
However, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon felt that Santner would play a crucial role for the side in the third Test at Sydney in 2020. Lyon, who picked up four wickets to spin the New Zealand side out, said that Australia were expecting Santner to play in the third Test and they expected him to be a threat to the hosts, both with the bat and the ball. Notably, Santner has not managed to pick more than one wicket and has conceded over 250 runs in the first two games in the ongoing series.
New Zealand have turned to Will Somerville for his experience of playing in Sydney as they look to avoid a whitewash in the third and final Test against Australia. Off-spinner Somerville, who was raised in Australia and played Sheffield Shield for New South Wales, will replace injured pace bowler Trent Boult for the Test starting in Sydney on Friday. Coach Gary Stead said the inclusion of the lanky 1.93 metre (6ft 4in) Somerville was a nod to the expected conditions at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
"There's no secret the SCG pitch is one of the more spin-friendly in Australia," Stead said. "Will offers something different to our two other spinners in the squad with his right arm off-spin and height. "The fact he's played a lot of cricket in Sydney during his career for New South Wales will also be helpful as we prepare for this final Test."