Australian captain Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting and coach Justin Langer.
Australian captain Tim Paine, Ricky Ponting and coach Justin Langer.

Ponting solves Australia’s batting order puzzle

Test legend Ricky Ponting has solved Australia's batting order conundrum.

The make-up of Australia's final Test XI for next week's series opener against India in Adelaide remains unclear. Most notably the opening positions and one middle-order spot.

Debutant Marcus Harris is considered most likely to open the batting but exactly who with remains a mystery. Aaron Finch is the obviously choice, but Victoria's insistence on playing him in the middle order at Sheffield Shield level has caused a stir higher up.

Ponting, however, believes Harris and Finch is the best combination at the top of Australia's order.

Ponting agrees with his former teammate Shane Warne that Victoria should move Finch to the top of the order for Round 5 of the Shield this week.

"Victoria don't want to break up their opening partnership - I think they should for Aaron Finch's benefit," Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"I think they should let him open for one game and slide Travis Dean down.

"Just to give him red ball (practice) opening the batting before he goes into the Test match.

"If the coach asked Aaron Finch where he'd rather bat, I'm sure he'd say he'd want to open.

"Finch is a bit of an anomaly really that the last few years he's done most of his batting for Victoria in the middle order. Then because they go to the UAE where conditions probably weren't going to be that new-ball friendly they gave him the chance to open.

"So he deserves to stay in the team and open."

Ponting has put Usman Khawaja at No.3 in his Test XI, despite the fact the Queensland opened the batting with Finch during the UAE tour.

The other spot with a question mark over it is the one Peter Handscomb and Travis Head are currently competing for.

Australia is expected to pick either Handscomb or Head - not both - for the remaining middle-order position for next week's Test.

Ponting wants the incumbent Head to retain his spot.

PUNTER'S TEST XI

Marcus Harris

Aaron Finch

Usman Khawaja

Shaun Marsh

Travis Head

Mitch Marsh

Tim Paine (c)

Mitchell Starc

Pat Cummins

Nathan Lyon

Josh Hazlewood

News Corp Australia

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