Khawaja returns as Cummins confirms Sydney bowling attack
After captain Pat Cummins confirmed Australia’s XI for the fourth Ashes Test, left-hander Usman Khawaja was recalled.
Travis Head is out of the match after testing positive for Covid-19, thus Usman Khawaja is the lone change.
After his exploits in Melbourne, Scott Boland secures a second Test match, while Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson are both ruled out.
Hazlewood will miss his third consecutive Test due to a side strain, while Richardson is currently recovering from a foot injury. Mitchell Swepson, who had been mentioned as a possible extra spinner, was passed up.
Khawaja last played international cricket in 2019, when he was a member of both the 2019 Cricket World Cup squad in England and the Ashes side that won the urn on tour in the same year. Set to bat at No. 5, Khawaja replaces Head, who tested positive on New Year’s Eve morning.
Boland wowed the MCG crowd on his Test debut, taking 6/7 in just four overs to win the series victory. The frosting on the cake for Boland’s ideal debut came in the form of Player of the Match honours.
Captain Cummins reveals that Hazlewood and Richardson, who batted ahead of Boland, were given the opportunity to establish their fitness as Australia tries to win the World Test Championship for the first time.
“We gave Josh every opportunity we could, but he didn’t seem to be able to bowl at full velocity yesterday.” We’re still hopeful that he’ll be a good fit for Hobart.
“It’s no secret that Joshy Hazlewood would play if he was available.”
“He’s just been a fantastic bowler for us for a long time.”
Despite the absence of the duo, Cummins is confident in Boland’s ability to produce on the field.
“You need that disciplined stump-to-stump bowler, and Scotty brings that to the table,” Cummins explained.
“Having someone like Scotty is a wonderful pleasure for us… We are in a great position right now, with so many alternatives.
“He’s bowling as well as he’s ever bowled, and it’s fantastic that he’s able to keep going.”