Jon Holland has bolted into contention for a shock Test recall if he can overcome a finger injury in time for Australia's series opener against Sri Lanka in Galle on Wednesday.
Australia received a major boost on Monday, with Mitchell Starc cleared to return from a cut finger after a lengthy centre-wicket training session.
Bowling for the first time without tape on his finger since slicing it open almost three weeks ago, Starc ran in for around an hour and was able to grip the ball without the wound reopening.
Travis Head is also pushing to play and completed fielding and batting tasks as officials wait to see how his hamstring pulls up on Tuesday before making a call on his availability.
But it is the role of fourth bowler that shapes as the point of most contention, with left-arm orthodox Holland and incumbent legspinner Mitchell Swepson vying to play.
Coach Andrew McDonald on Monday indicated Australia would go with two slow bowlers, on a ground where finger spin has traditionally had an advantage over wrist-spinners such as Swepson.
"We haven't made that decision, and Mitch Swepson is definitely in the selection frame," McDonald said. "We're talking about the direction the ball is spinning and the value of accuracy of finger spin against wrist spin, which at times can be less accurate.
"Traditionally, finger spin has done well here, it would be going against the statistics to say it wasn't. But there also hasn't been a lot of wrist spin played here."
Holland, who has nine wickets from four Tests at 63.77 apiece, took 20 wickets at 32.10 in the Sheffield Shield last summer, after missing the start of the season with a finger injury. He has not played for Australia since the 2018 tour of the UAE, and has barely been part of a national squad since.
If Holland does win out, it would mark an incredible bolt from the blue given he was not even part of the Australia A squad in Sri Lanka a fortnight ago. With selectors opting to give Matthew Kuhnemann experience in Asia, Holland was only called in when Ashton Agar was hurt early in the one-day series.
He did not bowl at training on Monday as he rested his sore finger, but McDonald indicated he would play ahead of Kuhnemann if he recovered in time and a finger-spinner was preferred.
Holland's rise follows a remarkably similar path to his Test debut in Galle six years ago, when called in mid-series as injury cover during Australia's 3-0 loss.
He took five wickets in two Tests at 54.80 on that tour, after a preparation hampered by coming out of a Victorian winter with limited bowling behind him. McDonald is confident it would be different this time.
"We know what Jon can do, hence why he has been called into the squad," McDonald said. "He's always been there or thereabouts with domestic performances. He was called in late, was he a little underdone when he got into the [Australia] A series? There's no doubt about that. But we feel like he can bowl himself into the form we need him to."