Australia has dropped its number three batsman Usman Khawaja for the fourth Ashes Test. (Action Images via Reuters: Andrew Boyers)
Australia’s selectors have lost patience with Usman Khawaja, dropping the batsman ahead of the fourth Ashes Test against England, starting in Manchester on Wednesday.
- Australia has made two changes to its 12-man squad for the fourth Ashes Test
- Top-order batsman Usman Khawaja, and pace bowler James Pattinson, have been omitted from the squad
- Steve Smith returns after he missed the Leeds Test due to concussion
The tourist have made two changes ahead of the Old-Trafford match, with James Pattinson also left out of Australia’s 12-man squad.
Khawaja has a series average of 20.33, with his top score of 40 coming in the second innings of the first Test, at Edgbaston.
Marnus Labuschagne is expected to take Khawaja’s number three position in the batting order with Smith to slot back into his customary number four spot.
Australia’s Mitchell Starc (centre) is poised to play his first Ashes Test of this series, in Manchester. (AAP: David Moir)
The Australian selectors have also made changes to the bowling line-up.
Mitchell Starc has forced his way into the squad and is in contention to play his first Test of the series.
Head coach, Justin Langer, said Australia’s final XI will be confirmed shortly before the Test gets underway.
“The decision on the 12th man will be one of the bowlers,” he said.
“We’re very clear what the batting is.”
Australia’s batting has been bolstered with the return of a fit Steve Smith for the fourth Ashes Test. (AP: Alastair Grant)
Langer said the players were still rueing the one-wicket loss in the third Test, where a victory would have seen Australia retain the Ashes.
“We felt like we got our Ashes stolen,” Langer said.
“Now we’ve got to work out what we’re going to do.
“The great players and the great teams, in business or life, they have their ups and downs but they always fight back from it.”
Australian squad for fourth Ashes Test
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.