Glenn Maxwell is a chance to make a shock return to Test cricket after Australia dropped a selection bombshell and revealed the Victorian was duelling with Mitchell Starc to play in Galle.
After spin claimed 26 of 31 wickets in the first Test against Sri Lanka, Australia's captain Pat Cummins revealed on Thursday Australia were considering playing just one frontline quick in the series finale.
The tourists will wait until inspecting the pitch ahead of the toss on Friday before making a final call, with some thought it could be slightly firmer than the first wicket offered up in Galle.
But if Australia do opt to make just the one change and go with an extra spinner in place of Starc, Maxwell will be the man.
"He'd play as a spinning allrounder at No.8," Cummins said.
"I thought he was just about the pick of the bowlers in the one-day series, he was excellent. You can easily get 15 or 20 overs out of him.
"If the wicket plays lots of tricks, the batting will be the area where you have to find those 20 or 30 runs somewhere.
"Last week we didn't need two quicks, but Mitchell Starc's class so we'll wait and see."
Maxwell's chances are helped by the fact Australia could use Cameron Green as a pace option, with Sri Lanka also only playing one frontline quick in this series.
Starc bowled only 11 overs in the first Test, while Pat Cummins did not bowl in the second innings and Green was entirely unused.
If picked, his call up could also give selectors a look forward to next year's tour of India.
"It probably makes it easier having other options," Cummins said.
"You've got Greeny there who's a high-class quick bowler. Trav Head, Marnus (Labuschagne).
"We know we've got plenty of bowling if we need it even Nathan Lyon, you can lock him in from one end for most of the day."
Australia's embarrassment of riches comes at the same time as Sri Lanka are scratching for players, after three more positive cases took the COVID outbreak in their squad to five on Thursday.
But the tourists' only headache centres around the structure of their team for Galle, after winning the first Test before lunch on day three.
Maxwell has not played Test cricket since September 2017, while his last first-class match was way back in late 2019.
He was only drafted into Australia's squad when Travis Head suffered a hamstring injury in the preceding white-ball series, but when Head recovered for the first Test Maxwell's chances looked gone.
Cummins is confident Maxwell's long absence from red-ball cricket will not be an issue.
"It's pretty different first-class cricket here to what you might experience in the Sheffield Shield.
"It's a different pace, the wickets are so different.
"It might not be grinding out a hundred (at No.8), but a quickfire 30 or 40 would be just as valuable."
AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc/Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins (capt), Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson.
Australian Associated Press
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