Ashes: Usman Khawaja to open, Travis Head returns for Hobart Test

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13 Jan 2022 | 03:59 AM
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Ashes: Usman Khawaja to open, Travis Head returns for Hobart Test

Scott Boland's place could be in jeopardy after he suffered a rib injury at SCG

Australia captain Pat Cummins has confirmed that Usman Khawaja, fresh from his twin centuries in Sydney will hang on to his place in the XI for the Hobart Test and will in fact open the innings along with David Warner, with Marcus Harris missing out.

Travis Head too will return to the XI after he missed the SCG Test after returning with a positive Covid-19 test.

Playing his first Test since 2019, Khawaja lit up the SCG with 137 and 101 not out, due to which he has hung on to his place. Harris, on the other hand has scored 179 runs from seven innings at 29.83 in the series so far. 

"I think he knew it was coming," Cummins said of Harris, according to Cricket.com.au

"The message to 'Harry' is that we think he's going really well, it's tough on him.

"It's not too often that someone comes in and gets two hundreds in the same game. I thought Marcus has been really good, he's been growing with each game. He was a huge part of why we won that MCG Test.

"He's certainly part of the future, we'll keep investing him. Uzzie and Davey have earned their spots to open the batting but the reality is they're both 35 years old. While that doesn't mean anything in the short term, there will be a day when we need to some more openers.

"This is more of a case of someone demanding a spot rather than Marcus losing his spot due to form."

However, fast bowler Scott Boland's place could be in jeopardy after he injured his ribs in Sydney. If he misses out, Jhye Richardson, who picked up a five-wicket haul in the day-night Test in Adelaide could get his place back. Michael Neser too remains an option.

"Scotty's ribs are the only factor," Cummins told reporters. 

"He'll give that a go, if he's not in then Jhye and Michael Neser are both fit. We'll work that out this arvo [afternoon].

"Jhye coming off a five-for in the pink ball (means) he's probably the next one (in) but we'll have that conversation when we need to. It's a pretty tight turnaround between Tests. We think he (Boland) should be right but he'll just have another bowl in the nets."

The fifth and final Ashes Test will be a day-night affair, starting Friday (January 14). Australia have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

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Australia vs EnglandEngland tour of Australia, 2021/22AustraliaEnglandUsman KhawajaTravis HeadPat CumminsScott Boland

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