Australia Playing XI for Old Trafford Test: The Australian chief selector has hinted major changes for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Had Australia controlled the proceedings in the final session of the last Test against England at Headingley, things would have been really simple for them. Having won the first Test at Edgbaston, all Australia needed was another victory to retain the Ashes.
With the series level at 1-1, the visitors still have the advantage for even a drawn series will aid them in retaining the urn. Talking about their combination for the fourth Test to be played at Old Trafford from September 4, chief selector Trevor Hohns has indicated a couple of important changes in the Playing XI.
All-rounder Marnus Labuschagne, who has scored three half-centuries in three innings in the series as a replacement for Steve Smith, seems to have sealed his spot in the playing XI. “Absolutely, there’s no doubt about that. He’s [Marnus Labuschagne] been terrific with the opportunity he was given in Lord’s, unfortunate opportunity of course.
3rd 50 in a row for Labuschagne. Marvellous from him #Ashes19
— Daniel Brettig (@danbrettig) August 23, 2019
“He’s certainly made every post a winner and made the most of every opportunity he has been given. Adding that to the fact he can bowl some handy leg-spin as well, he’s a prime contender. Very hard for me to say just where [Labuschagne will bat] but he’s an option everywhere, as we have seen. He can bat at three, he can bat at four, he can bat in the middle,” Hohns was quoted as saying.
Australia Playing XI for Old Trafford Test
If reports are to be believed, Australia might accommodate Labuschagne by promoting him to No. 3. Usman Khawaja, who currently bats at No. 3, is expected to open the innings alongside David Warner. In five Tests as an opener, Khawaja has scored 484 runs at an average of 96.80 and a strike rate of 49.43 including two centuries and half-centuries each.
Other than the opening position, the other change which Hohns has indicated will come at No. 6. Having scored a century at Lord’s, Matthew Wade appeared to have accepted that role. However, scores of 6, 1, 0 and 33 since then haven’t done justice to his potential.
If Australia drop Wade, it would also be done to decrease a left-hand batsman from their batting lineup. The presence of four southpaws in the Top 7 has seen the opposition bowlers taking advantage of the same.
“He [Matthew Wade] played very well that innings he made a hundred. Unfortunately things have not quite gone his way since then. That will certainly be an area we are having a look at,” Hohns said.
It is also believed that Australia are likely to recall all-rounder Mitchell Marsh into the XI. Promoted to bat at No. 3 in the warm-up match against Derbyshire, Marsh had impressed one and all with 74 (118) with the help of eight fours and a six.
While Marsh’s presence will increase a right-hand batsman, it will also give the visitors an additional bowling option. The 27-year old cricketer had last played for Australia during the Boxing Day Test against India last year.