Stoinis' bowling books passage to India
Australia allrounder Marcus Stoinis surprised many with his extraordinary innings at Eden Park last month. He will be hoping to surprise many more by contributing to Australia's Test tour of India over the next three weeks after being called up to replace Mitchell Marsh despite an underwhelming Sheffield Shield season.
Entering into this week's match for Victoria against Western Australia in Alice Springs, Stoinis had cobbled a mere 126 runs at 12.60 in six games. A first innings of 46 on Wednesday was his highest score of the season so far, but it remains a meagre base from which to launch an Indian campaign.
However the current Australian selection panel is nothing if not clear in its convictions, and as the interim chairman Trevor Hohns stated, Stoinis' greater heft as a bowler vaulted him ahead of the New South Welshman Moises Henriques, who has enjoyed a prolific summer with the bat. The Auckland performance helped too.
"When we looked at the various options we had to replace Mitch, there were two or three people who came to mind, and certainly Marcus was one, Moises was another, another young man by the name of Jack Wildermuth was considered as well, he's had a terrific season too," Hohns said.
"Marcus got over the line because a couple of years ago here with Australia A he performed very well, secondly we consider to give us as many options as we possibly could have in this series, we considered the stronger bowler to be the best option at this stage. That's what got him across the line.
"[Auckland] was very impressive, there's no doubt about that. What he showed there was his ability to perform under extreme pressure as well so that obviously was taken into account, albeit it was a different form of the game."
As a seam bowler, Stoinis has developed greater accuracy and subtle variation over the past 18 months since his international debut in a T20 in England. He is not as fast as Marsh at his fittest, but will present a strong seam and extract bounce or movement if any is available.
Stoinis' visit to India earlier in 2015, when he played in both first-class matches for one substantial score, now takes on greater significance. Pondering his chances of succeeding on the tour, Stoinis said it was vital that he knew his game and its limitations in difficult conditions - more so than worrying about the unsteady Shield ground on which he stands.
"There's no such thing as form really," he said. "I went in and made a hundred for Australia recently and hadn't made many runs before that. You just have to get involved and trust you know what you are doing."
Like most others in Australia, Stoinis has watched the events of the first two Tests closely. He said the touring team appeared to be doing a lot of things right, whether in preparation and strategy, or tactics and match play. What had gone right in Pune, Stoinis felt, had gone awry in Bengaluru - mastery of the key moments.
"I think emotions are running high and the series is on the line ... it's a big time for Australian cricket," he said. "Like every game of cricket there are critical moments and you just have to back yourself that you know what you are doing when you are out there."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig