Australia head coach Justin Langer has confirmed that batsman Usman Khawaja and James Pattinson will feature in the playing XI for the opening Ashes match against England in Birmingham. While vice-captain Pat Cummins will lead the attacking unit with Pattinson, a third pacer is yet to be decided between Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood.
Langer stated that Khawaja had passed his fitness test and is a sure start for the opening clash against their rivals in Edgbaston which begins August 1.
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"We'll talk to the boys in the next day or so and try and solidify the 12 anyway, so everyone's really clear where we're at. There's probably three to be fair, Starcy, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood for one spot. Three pretty good players to try to find a spot for, I reckon," Langer was quoted as saying by cric.com.au.
While Peter Siddle knows his ways on English conditions by playing for Essex, the veteran could be given a chance ahead of Star and Hazlewood where the former is yet to find his rhythm with the red ball after a fantastic World Cup.
Coach Langer feels that there won't be rotations and will pick the best three/four and will go according to the conditions.
"They won't be rotated as such, like in the World Cup we'll pick the best three or four for every game we play. Lord's is very different to here, Old Trafford's going to be different, so that's how," he said. "We won't rotate them per se, but we'll just pick the best three, probably not four, but three for every game. It won't be different opposition, certainly different conditions."
Another tough decision for Langer would be the opening partner for David Warner. With Marcus Harris opening for the Aussies in the past six Tests at home, Bancroft has been in good form in Shield Cricket during the start of this year.
"I think the opening partnerships' going to be really hard. Like in all these selections, there's literally a case for 17 blokes to play. The opening partnership's going to be really tough, between Cameron and Marcus Harris, really hard. They've both got a really strong case," he said.
Australia will take on England in the first Test of the Ashes series in Edgbaston, Birmingham.