After recovering from the injury suffered during World Cup Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson who has made sensational return to Australia test squad, both are set to feature in the Ashes series opener against England at Edgbaston starting Thursday.
This was confirmed by Australia’s coach Justin Langer who said that James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja are certain starters for the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston, while also consigning Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle to a three-way duel for the final pace bowling spot on a dry-looking pitch and with an unpromising weather forecast.
Langer confirmed Khawaja passed a fitness test on his hamstring on Monday and will bat at No.3 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston starting Thursday, while only a last-minute setback will prevent Pattinson from playing in his first Test since February 2016.
“Usman Khawaja will definitely be in,” Langer told reporters in Birmingham.
“He’s fit, ready to go, he’s playing well. He’s a seasoned pro for us, he averages 40-odd in Test cricket, his hammy (hamstring) is good, he’s running well, he’s passed all the fitness tests so he’s ready to go. He’ll bat No.3.”
Commenting on Pattinson, Langer said: “It’s a great story isn’t it, coming back from where he was as a young bowler, the back surgeries, to more than likely being selected for this Test match, it’s a great story.”
David Warner, who Langer says is “fine” after copping a nasty blow above his left knee in the nets on Monday afternoon, Steve Smith, captain Tim Paine, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and now Khawaja and Pattinson appear the certainties in the XI to take on England.
Langer says deciding who will open the batting with Warner and the third specialist fast bowler are at the forefront of the selection panel’s minds.
Marcus Harris is the incumbent Test opener, Australia’s leading run-scorer against world No.1 India last summer and posted a century against Sussex on the Australia A tour two games ago.
Cameron Bancroft was Australia’s Test opener before he was suspended, has been in solid form for Durham in Division Two of the County Championship and scored a match-winning 93 not out on a challenging pitch in last week’s intra-squad clash in Southampton.