Australia have not included left-handed batsman Usman Khawaja in the 12-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test against England beginning Wednesday at the Old Trafford. Khawaja has averaged 20.33 in six innings he played in the series so far, with four scores between 13 and 40. It is almost two years to the day since the last time the left-handed batter was dropped from the Test side for the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong, reports cricket.com.au.
Right-arm pacer James Pattinson has been rested while Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc have been named in the squad.It means four fast bowlers — Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Starc and Siddle — will be fighting it out for three spots, with the pitch and conditions at Old Trafford set to determine the final XI. Marnus Labuschagne will bat at No. 3 while Steve Smith will slot back at No. 4 as Australia look to retain the Ashes in Manchester. All-rounder Mitchell Marsh, however, finds himself out of favour once again despite his good all-round show against Derbyshire.
The tourists were on the brink of retaining the Ashes only for Ben Stokes’s superb 135 not out delivered England a stunning one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley. Stokes’s heroics have left the five-match series poised at 1-1 with two to play. Australia coach Justin Langer said his Ashes-holders would now take heart from an incident in Ali’s childhood.
“He got his bike stolen and that was the fire he needed to become the greatest boxer of all time,” said Langer.
“We felt a bit like we got the Ashes stolen the other day. They won that Test match, so we felt a bit like it’d been stolen from us.
“Now we’ve got to work out what we’re going to do, and use that as fire. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves and let it slip,” added Langer, aiming to oversee Australia’s first Ashes series win in England for 18 years.
Australia 12-man squad: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matt Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.