Hobart, January 12: Australia skipper Pat Cummins has revealed Australia will tinker with its opening pair to face England in the 5th and final Ashes Test, with Marcus Harris left out in favour of Usman Khawaja.
Travis Head also makes his return after missing the Sydney Test with COVID-19, while the makeup of the bowling attack is yet to be decided.
Khawaja made 137 and 101* in the Sydney Test match, which ended in a draw, thanks to a resolute performance by England’s middle and lower order. Harris made 179 runs at an average of under 30 across the first four matches in the series, headlined by a score of 76 at the MCG in the Boxing Day Test.
Khawaja has an exceptional record opening the batting in Test cricket, making 484 runs at 96.80 in seven innings, including two centuries and two fifties.
Australia have an unassailable lead in the series, but will be hunting for crucial World Test Championship points after narrowly missing out on the final last year.
On the bowling side for the hosts, Scott Boland’s fitness is being monitored ahead of the Test, while the team are tossing up the selection of Mitchell Starc, who is yet to sit out in the series.
Starc’s day-night Test record is exemplary, (52 wickets at an average of 18.23) though with future series across formats on the horizon, the left-armer may be given the match off to support his workload.
It’s the first time Blundstone Arena in Hobart has hosted a Test match since 2016, with South Africa winners over the hosts on that occasion.
The final Test of the series begins tomorrow afternoon, and is worth another 12 World Test Championship points in the 2021-2023 cycle.