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Mitch Marsh recalled, Handscomb dropped

Australia make one change for third Test, recalling allrounder Marsh in place of batsman Handscomb having lost the toss

Mitchell Marsh will make his Test comeback at the WACA Ground after Australia captain Steve Smith confirmed the allrounder's inclusion for the third Magellan Ashes Test.

Marsh replaces Victorian batsman Peter Handscomb and will bat at No.6 in the final Ashes Test at the historic venue before high-profile international matches head across the Swan River to the new 60,000 seat Optus Stadium. 

England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to bat first.


Shaun Marsh, the player of the match in the Adelaide day-night Test for his first-innings century, will move up to No.5. 

England have named an unchanged XI from the one that was defeated by 120 runs in the second Test, but have made a batting order tweak of their own with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow moving up to No.6 ahead of Moeen Ali.

AUSTRALIA XI: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (c), Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon

ENGLAND XI: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Joe Root (c), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson

It's been nine months since Mitchell Marsh pulled on the Baggy Green after he was sent home from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series in India with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

The 26-year-old started bowling nine weeks ago but has bowled just 22 overs in the JLT Sheffield Shield this summer for Western Australia.

While he might be light on overs and wickets, the hard-hitting right-hander has been a heavy scorer for the Warriors in both 50-over and four-day cricket.

Ecstatic Marsh registers Shield century

In the JLT One-Day Cup, he averaged a whopping 169 as captain of WA's title-winning campaign before scoring 402 runs at 72 in the Shield competition, including his first century since March, 2011, with 141 against Queensland in Perth. 

With the WACA pitch expected to again favour batting as it has done in recent years, Marsh's ability with ball to help lighten the workload of Australia's specialist fast bowlers earned him the selection nod.  

Making way for Marsh is Handscomb, who has scored 62 runs in three innings in the Ashes but has not been at his free-flowing best.

Handscomb must make change: Ponting

Smith on Wednesday said the inclusion of Marsh did not signal a loss of faith in Handscomb who entered Test cricket a year ago with a blaze of runs and the promise of a lengthy tenure.

"If we do go down the route of Pete missing out, it's unlucky and the message to him is purely – from my point of view and from the selectors, speaking to them – is that it's for the extra bowling option," Smith said at his pre-Test press conference.

"It's nothing to do with the batting, as such. If he misses out, we still see a very bright future for Pete.

"He's come in, I think he's averaging 47 in Test cricket against a whole heap of different nations in different conditions so he can certainly play the game and if he is to miss out there's no reason why he won't be back in the team soon."

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Australia won by 120 runs (Day-Night). Scorecard

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21