CRICKET

Usman left out of key tour match

Matt Renshaw is firming in his bid to open alongside David Warner during Australia's four-Test series against India.

Renshaw is opening the batting in Australia's three-day tour game against India A at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium, where the locals sent the visitors in on Friday.

Renshaw, Warner, Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh will have an ideal chance to spend some quality time in the middle before the first Test starts in Pune on Thursday.

However, the green-tinged pitch in Mumbai is likely to be the antithesis of what awaits in Pune.

Usman Khawaja is notably the only specialist batsman in Australia's 16-man touring party to sit out their only tune-up before the first Test, suggesting Marsh may also claim his spot in the Test XI.

Marsh was one of few players to enhance their subcontinent reputations during a 3-0 series loss in Sri Lanka last year, scoring 130 in Colombo. Khawaja was dropped during that same tour.

Renshaw has been batting in the nets with Warner at training, with the expectation being he will do the same in Pune.

There had been speculation, fuelled partly by comments from coach Darren Lehmann last month, that Renshaw could be dropped in favour of Marsh.

But Marsh now looks set to slip into the middle order.

The XI selected by Trevor Hohns and Lehmann in Mumbai is not the likely side for the first Test; Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were both rested.

Glenn Maxwell and Mitch Marsh will both play the tour game against India A, giving the allrounders an ideal chance to build an impressive case for a Test recall.

Maxwell and Marsh are both gunning for the No.6 spot, with the omission of Hilton Cartwright the only confirmed change to the Test side at this stage.

Frontline spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe will be given a chance to bowl long spells in Mumbai.

Australia: David Warner, Matt Renshaw, Steve Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Steve O'Keefe, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon.

India A: Hardik Pandya (capt), Akhil Herwadkar, Priyank Panchal, Shreyas Iyer, Ankit Bawne, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Ashok Dinda, Krishnappa Gowtham, Navdeep Saini.

AAP