Australia will not field a specialist spinner for the first time in over a decade and the selectors will opt to strengthen the batting for the fourth Ashes Test.
Australia will enter a Test without a specialist spinner for the first time in over 11 years after youngster Todd Murphy was dropped for the fourth Test in Manchester.
Looking to secure a first Ashes series away win in 22 years, the Aussies have recalled Cameron Green, pairing him for the first time in a Test XI with Mitch Marsh, who made a century and took two wickets replacing the injured Green in the third test. at Headingley.
With underfire David Warner taking his place at the top of the order, Australia’s choice to place both Marsh and Green in the same side came at the expense of Murphy, who bowled just 9.3 overs on Ashes debut. in Leeds. , where he had come on as a direct trade for the injured Nathan Lyon.
Australia have made another change from the team that lost the third Test, with Josh Hazlewood returning for Scott Boland.
Green is listed to hit at No. 7, one spot below Marsh. Goalkeeper Alex Carey, who has a Test century to his name, is scheduled for No. 8.
The decision to omit Murphy is a milestone for the Australian team, which last played a Test without a spinner against India in the WACA in January 2012, in the early stages of Lyon’s Test run.
Australia infamously ruled out Nathan Hauritz for the decisive 2009 Fifth Ashes Test at The Oval, leaving the spinning duties mainly to half-timer Marcus North, a decision the selectors would later acknowledge was a mistake.
This time Australia will have to rely on offers from Travis Head and, to a lesser extent, Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne.
Old Trafford is historically a place that offers a lot for spinners. Most famously, it was the setting for Shane Warne’s “ball of the century” with his first installment of Ashes 30 years ago.
England player Moeen Ali suggested Australia would be foolish not to pick a top player given Old Trafford’s changing reputation.
But given that England have not batted more than 81.3 overs in an innings so far in the series, and the fact that the hosts will need to make the move given that they are 2-1 down and rain is forecast for both Saturday and Sunday, the Australians have decided to go heavy.
3. Marnus Labuschagne
4. Steve Smith (vc)
5. Travis’s head
6. Mitchell’s Swamp
7. cameron green
8. Alex Carey (week)
10. Pat Cummins (c)
11. Josh Hazlewood
MAKEWOOD READY FOR THE RETURN OF ASHES
Josh Hazlewood is set to return to the Australian side after resting at Headingley, taking over for Scott Boland.
Hazlewood, which has been plagued by injury in recent years, missed the World Test Championship final before playing the first Ashes match at Edgbaston and the second Test at Lord’s.
There was more than a week off between those Tests, but to lead the remaining two Tests in this series, with less than four days between the scheduled end of the fourth and fifth Tests, would be more of a challenge.
However, Hazlewood said that he was optimistic about being able to play the remaining two Tests.
In addition to Boland, the Australians also have in-form Michael Neser waiting in the wings.
“Missing Headingley is probably why they prepared me for the last two games. I know it’s back to back but we haven’t bowled many overs,” Hazlewood said.
“Hopefully, with that job behind me now, I’m in a better position than I was a month ago. That puts me in a good place to get through those last two games and play my part and do what I usually do.”
Hazlewood said he felt prepared to act as the Aussies looked to earn their first Ashes series away win in 22 years.
“Very excited. He obviously sat out the last game. I feel better for it. Rest up and get some strength back and get ready for this game,” Hazlewood said.
“Such great memories from the last time I was here in 2019. It’s good to be back here and hopefully have a game.
“I felt pretty good to be honest. We haven’t played many overs in terms of what Test matches look like for us. The way England play gets us onto the pitch for a bit less in terms of workload.
“I felt pretty good going into the game. It was probably the right decision now I can sit back and look at the big picture. He was desperate to play, which is obvious. But now it makes sense.
“I have done it again, it felt pretty good. I was probably a bit underdone for that World Test Championship and then I prepared for the first game. He didn’t look too rusty when he was in the middle. Once you have that big day of workload under you, you feel much better for running. I felt better and better as I went on. Hopefully, after that little break, I’ll be shooting again.”
While Todd Murphy’s position has also come into question after he bowled fewer than 10 overs at Leeds, his counterpart Moeen Ali said Australia would be foolish not to pick a spinner on ground that looks dry.
“You have to play a spinner in a test match no matter where it is, in my opinion, but especially at Old Trafford. I think the way they used it was difficult, I think the chase was difficult because we would have preferred to go against a spinner and you were missing Nathan Lyon, who has been a huge part of the team and does an amazing job for them.
‘STILL OUR BEST BOWLER’: ENGLAND BACK IN ANDERSON UNDER FIRE
Moeen Ali has declared that Jimmy Anderson is still England’s best bowler after the veteran closer was recalled by the hosts. in an attempt to keep the ashes alive.
Anderson, who turns 41 at the end of this month, is England’s only inclusion for the fourth Test, replacing Ollie Robinson.
Moeen will continue to bat at No. 3, as he did in the second innings of the third Test at Headingley.
Anderson, who has a winger named after him at Old Trafford, has 688 Test wickets but took just three averaging over 75 in the first two Tests of the series before being rested for the third Test.
In his absence Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Stuart Broad led England to a three wicket victory.
But Moeen said Anderson was still a big threat.
“He is still the best bowler we have and have had over the years,” Moeen said.
“He and Broady have been outstanding. Even in the first two games that he played, I actually thought he played very well in both. When people say he doesn’t bowl well, he doesn’t bowl many runs.
“I think he’s been a little unlucky with receptions and other things that probably didn’t go his way. But there is no doubt that England are a better team with James Anderson.”
4. Joe root
7. Jonathan Bairstow +
8. Chris Woakes
9. Mark wood
10. Wide Stuart