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Agar a positive for Aussies on tough tour

By AAP Newswire

On a hugely difficult tour of England containing few positives, the performances of Ashton Agar have been a beacon of hope for Australia's one-day side.

Trailing 4-0, Australia's understrength and inexperienced bowling attack has been put to the sword ruthlessly by the world's No.1-ranked side.

Agar was named first-choice spinner ahead of Nathan Lyon, who made his first appearance in the six-wicket defeat at Durham on Thursday.

Although he has only taken three wickets in four matches for 198 runs, the West Australian was the only bowler to emerge with any credit from the onslaught at Trent Bridge where the hosts racked up a wold record 6-481, finishing with figures of 0-70.

He also bowled intelligently when brought into the attack at Durham, giving some control to the attack after England openers Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow had teed off against the quicks.

In addition to his bowling, the 24-year-old has been the only player in the lower order to contribute with the bat, averaging 32.5 with a respectable strike rate of 91.54.

Agar first came to prominence during the 2013 Ashes series, where he memorably scored 98 batting at No.11 at Trent Bridge but was dropped after the next match at Lord's having struggled with his bowling.

It was another four years until he next appeared in a Test against Bangladesh and overlooked again in the summer for the one-day side after two appearances in India last September.

But vice-captain Aaron Finch believes Agar has shown enough on this current tour to show to be strongly considered for the World Cup in the UK in 11 months' time.

"He's shown it for the last couple of years in domestic cricket and he just keeps getting better and better," Finch said.

"He took a bit of a hammering in one of the games, but he learns very quick.

"I think how quick he learns and how quick he's improving all the time from year to year in state cricket but even game to game bowling to the best players in the world is a credit to him.

"The way he analyses the game, thinks about the game is outstanding. He's a huge positive for us so far."

Agar will keep his place in the team for the final match of the series at Old Trafford on Sunday, where Australia need to win to avoid a first ever whitewash to an English team in a five-match series,

Alex Carey is set to keep his place in the side despite scoring just six in the return to the team at Durham.

Kane Richardson could be recalled at the expense of Jhye Richardson or Michael Neser.

Glenn Maxwell is still rated a doubt after missing the match at Durham due to a shoulder injury.