Blackcaps v Australia: Brendon McCullum calls for dropping of Mitchell Santner

Brendon McCullum expects spinner Mitchell Santner to be dropped for the final test in Sydney.

Santner's only taken 1/250 in two matches and that's not good enough for the former New Zealand captain.

Santner's horrid performance led to former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting labelling the left-arm bowler "unselectable" for the third test that starts at the SCG on Friday.

McCullum agrees with his Channel Seven commentary colleague, believing Santner needs time to regroup.

"I don't expect he'll play this test match and I think for him he'll have to go away and work on some things," McCullum said. 

The 38-year-old likes the option of Will Somerville playing at the Sydney Cricket Ground - a venue where the off-spin bowler has experienced a measure of success playing Sheffield Shield cricket for New South Wales.

The only other question he has is whether the Blackcaps choose to play leg-spinner Todd Astle as well.

Regardless of the selection outcome, McCullum doesn't think it's the end of the line for Santner as a test match player.

"Everyone gets dropped at some stage in their careers and that doesn't mean you can't play at this level, it just means you've got some work to do so."

The Australian camp disagrees, with one of the Blackcaps MCG tormentors backing his fellow tweaker. 

Australia's spin wizard Nathan Lyon believes Santner's all-round ability is hard to ignore and the spin-friendly SCG will give him more to work with than Perth and Melbourne.

"We're expecting him to definitely play and play a massive role in the next week," Lyon said.

But what role smoke will play this week is up in the air.

The Big Bash was forced to cancel a match in Canberra due to the haze from the Sydney bushfires.

For now, the umpires have been told to treat the haze like rain - If conditions become unsafe or the visibility becomes poor then they should stop play.

The Blackcaps will get their first taste of the smoke that awaits them on Wednesday.

"We will try where we can to train during the day and to train during the times we're playing in so we actually get a feel for what it's likely to be like

But the smoke is not the only thing Stead will be keeping his eye on at tomorrow's training with Somerville joining the squad in Sydney.