Taylor backs Wade and Maxwell for first Test

Former Australian captain Mark Taylor is backing both Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell to be selected by Australia for the first Test of the Ashes series at the Gabba in a fortnight's time.

The battle for the wicketkeeper spot appears to be a four-horse race between Wade, Peter Nevill, Tim Paine and Alex Carey.

Wade, who is Australia's incumbent Test keeper, has been criticised for his glove work in recent times.

However, Taylor believes the 29-year-old has improved enough to warrant another chance in Brisbane against England.

"I watched quite a bit of the Indian series that Australia played in during the winter months and there's no doubt in my mind that Matthew Wade did improve as a keeper, but it's tough over there," Taylor told SEN on Friday.

"I haven't seen the blokes in recent times but if Matthew Wade has improved his keeping, which he did a little bit in India, well then I think he's the man for the job. But the selectors see more of the game than me. If they don't think he's the best keeper then they should get the best keeper.

"I'm a bit of a believer that the incumbent should almost lose the spot first, but I'm also a great believer that with that bowling attack, Australia need to pick their best wicketkeeper.

"There will be some edges flying around at the Gabba and if I'm the skipper I want them hung onto. So I think if the keeper does his job and holds the catches for Australia, or the stumpings from Nathan Lyon or whatever comes along, that'll go a long way to helping Australia win a Test match."

Taylor also believes his theory on incumbency should apply to Maxwell when the selectors sit down and decide who should take the number six spot.

"To be totally honest I think Glenn Maxwell has got the lead-in at the moment," he said.

"I know he hasn't made huge runs in recent times, but he's made a couple of 60s, he is the incumbent and I suspect if he has a reasonable Shield game over the next week or so, he'll be the number six."

Taylor reckons Australia's bowling attack, which consists of Mitch Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Lyon, will tilt the series in the hosts' favour and he suspects the Aussies are more settled than the English.

"We've got a good pace arsenal, Nathan Lyon I think really has improved as a spin bowler so it's always good going into a series when you know who your four bowlers are going to be. So that's a real advantage for Australia," Taylor said.

"So Australia's side is pretty well picked. So they've got good bowlers and a side that pretty well knows what it's going to be going into the first Test and that's a nice place to be."

The same couldn't be said for England, according to Taylor.

"There's no doubt England have their concerns at the moment with their side but you just never know with these Ashes contests," he said.

"England have got to find a couple of blokes to bat in that middle order and if they can uncover someone over the next three months, they're a chance. But they're going to have to find someone very shortly."

Taylor conceded there was a chance star all-rounder Ben Stokes could feature for England in the Ashes if he wasn't charged over his involvement in a late-night brawl, but he probably wouldn't be available until the third or fourth Test.

"So between now and then, England have to play some good cricket against Australia who seem to be getting their ducks in line so we've got a good series."

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This story Taylor backs Wade and Maxwell for first Test first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.