In a surprising development, Australia have included all-rounder Mitchell Marsh in the 12-man squad for the fifth and final Ashes Test against England at The Oval. Marsh has replaced vice-captain Travis Head, who has averaged 27.28 in four Tests this English summer. With an aim to provide cushion to their pacers, skipper Tim Paine justified younger Marsh’s inclusion in Australia squad.
Marsh has not played for Australia since December 2018 and has been brought in to provide extra bowling cover. After a decent start to the Test summer in England, Head managed to score 0, 25, 19 and 12 in his next four innings to lose his place in the Australia side. He started the series with scores of 35 and 51 in Birmingham before scoring a match-saving 42 not out on the final day of Lord’s Test.
“The reason Travis isn’t playing is because we felt we needed extra bowling after a long series,” skipper Tim Paine is quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“We want to get the make-up right for this Test and unfortunately Travis misses out. He’s disappointed he’s not playing. No doubt he’s in the top six or seven batsmen in this country.”
The final XI will be revealed at the toss. The inclusion of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, Australia’s highest wicket-takers this series, will be dependent upon how they recover from the Old Trafford Test.
“Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we’ve kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match,” Paine added.
Struggling opener David Warner, who has been dismissed for a duck in his past three innings, has held his spot and will begin the proceedings for the visitors at Oval with Marcus Harris.
Australia have already retained the Ashes by winning the fourth Test and thus taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series. They are now looking to record a series win in England, something they haven’t done since Steve Waugh’s ‘Invincibles’ did so in 2001.
Australia XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.