Cricket 2 years ago

Handy runs from O'Keefe in Colombo

  • Handy runs from O'Keefe in Colombo

    Australian cricketer Stephen O'Keefe plays a shot during the second day of a three day practice match between Australia and Sri Lankan XI team at the P. Sara Oval Cricket Stadium in Colombo on July 19, 2016. Australia and Sri Lanka play three Test, five One-Day Internationals and Two T20 series matches between July 26 and September 9, with the first Test played from July 26 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele. / AFP / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Stephen O'Keefe has backed fellow spinner Nathan Lyon to return to form while underlining his own claims for a recall to the Australian side for the first Test against Sri Lanka.

Lyon, who is battling a minor illness, has struggled to find his best on the tour with his 0-72 from 13 overs on Monday taking his cumulative record to 0-182 from 33 overs after an inter-squad match last week.

In contrast, O'Keefe finished with 5-43 from 12.2 overs against a Sri Lankan Board XI who were dismissed for 229 on the opening day.

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"The ball has been coming out beautifully - it has been for a few days for Nathan," O'Keefe said.

Australia, who were 1-127 at stumps, have in recent tours picked two spinners for Tests on the sub-continent.

O'Keefe has made a strong case for the trend to continue ahead of the first Test in Kandy which starts on Tuesday.

The left-arm orthodox bowler has played just one more Test since his debut in Dubai against Pakistan two years ago.

"Every time that you play you need to be performing well to get a game in this team," said O'Keefe.

"You have a look at the quicks and the bowling stocks that we've got.

"You have to be performing to push one of those guys out of their spot and to bowl in tandem with Nathan."

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