Shield auditions over, selectors mull XI

Victorian Marcus Harris is in the mix for Test selection after some impressive Shield performances.
Victorian Marcus Harris is in the mix for Test selection after some impressive Shield performances.

Marcus Harris has missed a golden chance to effectively demand Test selection but another half-century leaves the opener at the forefront of a scramble for spots.

The panel chaired by Australia's chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns is expected to meet later this week as they piece together a team to face India in the four-Test series opener that starts on December 6.

The final chance for Test aspirants to impress in the Sheffield Shield came in Hobart on Tuesday, when Harris scored 67 to help Victoria complete a six-wicket victory.

An unbeaten century may well have made Harris' case irresistible. Another eight runs would have lifted Harris into top spot on the Shield run-scoring table ahead of Alex Doolan, who has compiled 444 runs at 55.5.

But there is no doubt Harris, who scored 250 not out last month at the MCG and averages 87.4 after four Shield rounds, is on selectors' radar.

"Hopefully with the form he's in, he can get picked and showcase what he can do on the world stage," Victoria captain Peter Handscomb said.

"He's been pushing his case now for a few years."

A baggy green for Harris would complete a remarkable transformation from the 26-year-old, who has developed immensely since shunning Justin Langer's mentorship at Western Australia to seek a fresh start with Victoria.

"His performances have been mediocre with flashes of brilliance ... I respect the fact that our program is not for everyone," former WA coach Langer said when Harris departed in 2016.

The pair have since dismissed any talk of bad blood. Langer, now the national coach, sent a congratulatory text message to Harris after last month's MCG masterclass.

Australia's Test XI, weakened by the absence of suspended batsmen Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, is starting to take shape.

If selectors stick with Aaron Finch and Travis Head there will only be one spot up for grabs, presuming Marnus Labuschagne is axed.

Incumbents Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh have both found form while Usman Khawaja is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury.

Harris, Doolan, Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Joe Burns, Matthew Renshaw and Jake Lehmann have all been floated as candidates.

Tasmania skipper George Bailey suggested Doolan is in career-best form, also declaring Wade's 412 runs at 82.4 should ensure the former Test keeper is in the mix to return as a batsman.

Handscomb produced scores of four and 23 in Hobart, admitting on Tuesday he was frustrated to miss a "good chance to really push my case".

"It was see ball, hit ball ... I didn't rein it back in, which is what I should have done," Handscomb said.

LEADING SHIELD RUN-SCORERS

*Alex Doolan (444 at 55.5)

*Marcus Harris (437 at 87.4)

*Matthew Wade (412 at 82.4)

*Tom Cooper (392 at 56)

*Shaun Marsh (362 at 120.66).

Australian Associated Press