Australia have left pace bowler James Pattinson out of their 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test against England, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood both vying for a recall.
Pattinson was part of the team that won by 251 runs at Edgbaston, taking two wickets in his first Test in three years.
But the 29-year-old will sit out the Lord’s Test, which starts on Wednesday, leaving Starc and Hazlewood to push their claims.
“It’s nothing new,” Australia captain Tim Paine told reporters at Lord’s on Tuesday.
“We’re really happy with the group of fast bowlers we’ve got. We think all of them can play a really important role in this series. We’ve spoken to them about making sure we have that core group of bowlers for the next two or three years.”
With Pattinson’s long-standing fitness problems and the next two Tests coming back to back, the decision to leave him out appears to be a case of workload management.
“James has come back off a really long lay-off, a really serious operation. We want to make sure he’s cherry-ripe for the next three or four years,” said Paine. “In the past we’ve got him back, keep using him and keep bowling him and eventually he’s broken again.
“We’re really lucky we’ve got two bowlers on the sidelines who are world-class.”
“He’s available for selection but we’ve decided to rest him for this game to make sure his long-term future is in really good shape,” he added.
Left-arm quick Starc was the top wicket-taker at the recent World Cup, with 27 scalps, while right-arm Hazlewood was left out of the tournament to get him fit and ready for the Ashes.
Hazlewood returned figures of 3-34 in last week’s tour match at Worcester but the final decision as to who plays in the second Test will not be revealed until the toss.
“They (Hazlewood and Starc) are both world-class bowlers and when you leave guys like that out, particularly two of them at a time, you can see what sort of people they are and we’ve been really impressed with both of them,” said Paine.
“We’ve had Josh Hazlewood on the A tour, the whole time priming himself to play in the Test and then when he missed out, obviously they were both disappointed but they are really both excellent team men.
“It’s always nice from a captaincy and a leadership point of view when you’ve got two senior players who are world-class left out and they cop it on the chin, run drinks, and train their backsides off in the lunch hours and tea breaks. It sets a really good example for the rest of our team.
“Whichever one of those two we unleash tomorrow, they are certainly ready to go.”
Australia squad for second Ashes Test:
Tim Paine (capt/wkt), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood