Australia confirm opener switch, bat first in Leeds
James Pattinson returns for Australia while Marcus Harris to make his Ashes debut as third Test gets underway at Headingley
22 August 2019, 08:59 PM AEST
James Pattinson returns to add pace and venom to Australia's bowling while selectors have made the bold call to bring in Marcus Harris for the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Harris replaces Cameron Bancroft at the top of the order while Pattinson has come in for Victoria teammate Peter Siddle.
Marnus Labuschagne has been confirmed in the starting XI in place of Steve Smith, who misses the match still suffering the effects of the delayed concussion from the blow to the neck he took from a Jofra Archer short ball on the fourth day of the Lord's Test.
Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed the three changes at the coin toss that was won by England with the home side opting to bowl first.
"I was hoping he won the toss, but we were going to have a bat," Paine told the host broadcaster.
"The wicket looks quite dry. Nathan Lyon will come into play later in the Test match.
Asked if the bowling change was enforced or more to do with conditions, Paine responded: "A little bit of both. Peter Siddle is not getting any younger but he has been bowling really well for us.
"And with someone like James Pattinson in the side, it's a great position for us to be in."
Root justified his bowl-first decision by saying England wanted to make the most of the overheads conditions on a wicket that otherwise looked batting friendly.
A win at Headingley would see Australia retain the Ashes – something that has not been achieved since Steve Waugh's final tour in 2001 – although the ultimate goal will be to secure a series win.
Under cloudy skies and with a deep chill in the air, the toss was delayed as a shower sprinkled the ground just minutes before it was due to take place. Former England captain Alastair Cook described it as "bowl-first conditions, but a bat-first wicket".
There was a second delay as the drizzle returned immediately after the toss.
Harris will open the batting alongside David Warner, the first time the pair will have played together in Test cricket.
There could have been a legitimate case made for either opener to be dropped with Warner producing scores of 2, 8, 3 and 5 so far in this series, and falling victim to Stuart Broad’s around-the-wicket tactics three times.
Bancroft and Warner have managed just 62 runs between them in four innings.
England have named an unchanged XI but have reshuffled the batting order.
The expectation was that Jason Roy would move to the middle order, but he has been retained at opener despite his limited first-class experience in the role.
Instead, England have demoted Jos Buttler to No.7, making it two spots he has fallen since the first innings at Lord's.
England made the switch to bat Ben Stokes ahead of Buttler for the second innings of the second Test, and have now elevated wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow above him too.
Harris produced the most prolific first-class summer in Australia for 43 years last season, hitting a total of 1,515 runs at 56.11 across his six Test matches and Sheffield Shield season.
His 1,188 runs for Victoria – including a match-defining 141 in the final as they claimed a fourth title in five summers – led all-comers in the Shield.
Australia's selectors have already shown through the Ashes and preceding World Cup campaign they are not afraid to make bold selection calls.
Pattinson had always been slated to play this Test having been left out of the Lord’s game, with only three days’ break between matches. Siddle could still count himself unlucky, having performed admirably in his two Tests, although bowled without luck as wickets proved scarce.
Mitchell Starc remains on the bench for the third successive Test match.
Australia XI: Marcus Harris, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.
England XI: Jason Roy, Rory Burns, Joe Root (c), Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval