Khawaja, Head in Ashes squad as shootout looms

Usman Khawaja and Travis Head are set for an Ashes shootout, with selectors still unable to split the pair three weeks out from the start of Australia’s defence of the urn.

Mitchell Marsh’s heroics in the Twenty20 World Cup were not enough for him to dislodge Cameron Green from the 15-player squad for the first two Tests named on Wednesday morning, but he has been named for Australia A, who play the England equivalent in Brisbane starting December 9.

Usman Khawaja and Travis Head are in a shootout for the No.5 Test spot.Credit:Getty

Rising star Jhye Richardson is on the cusp of playing his first Test since early 2019, recalled alongside perennial squad member Michael Neser as the pace back-up to the incumbent trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc.

The uncapped Mitchell Swepson was also named, reaffirming his status as the country’s No.2 slow bowler, although his best chance of breaking through for a baggy green may be the fourth Test in Sydney.

As foreshadowed by the Herald and The Age, next-generation openers Henry Hunt and Bryce Street, and former Test batter Matt Renshaw, feature in an 11-player Australia A squad which will join the senior players in a three-day intra-squad game starting on December 1 in Brisbane.

Ashes squad: Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner.

Australia A: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh, Matt Renshaw, Mark Steketee, Bryce Street.

More to come

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