Aussies to wait on fast bowling call
A decision on which fast bowlers Australia will choose for the third Test against England will not be announced until Thursday's toss
Sam Ferris at Headingley
22 August 2019, 08:04 AM AEST
Australia will wait until the morning of the match to announce their team for the third Ashes Test in Leeds as the selectors weigh up the composition of the fast bowling attack.
All six of Australia's pace battery are fit and available for selection, with the Headingley pitch set to determine which combination of quicks the tourists will play.
Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood represent the incumbent pace attack that played in the second Test but given Australia's selection strategy of resting their fast bowlers and picking a set of speedsters tailor-made to the specific conditions on offer, it is unlikely the Lord's trio will all play in Leeds.
Cummins and Siddle have played the first two Tests and could do with a spell, while the selectors will monitor Hazlewood closely after playing his first Test since the New Year's clash against India in January at the SCG where he sustained a back injury.
Waiting in the wings is James Pattinson, who captured 2-111 in 35 overs at Edgbaston but was rested for Lord's as he eases his way back into international cricket having spent three-and-a-half years on the sidelines with various injuries.
Coach Justin Langer said the plan for Pattinson was to play the first Test then miss one of the second or third depending on how he pulled up after the series opener. Having sat out at St John's Wood, the Victorian could be in line for a recall at Headingley.
While Pattinson played in Birmingham, left-armer Mitch Starc is yet to feature this series.
Starc was the leading wicket-taker in the preceding World Cup but has not added to his eight Ashes Tests in England, despite explaining to captain Tim Paine the significance his name holds in the north, albeit in a fictional country.
King of the North? Mitchell Starc trying everything to get himself selected in the XI for the third Test! #Ashes | @samuelfez https://t.co/7UrLG53WWE pic.twitter.com/wgpPY9D201— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 21, 2019
The 29-year-old can boast local knowledge having played a first-class match at Headingley in 2012 for Yorkshire alongside Ashes foes Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. Starc claimed 5-114 from 34.1 overs in the drawn encounter with Northamptonshire.
Queensland's Michael Neser, like Starc, has not played a Test this series, or ever, but continues to impress in the nets and claimed 2-32 from 12 overs in the tour match in Worcester between the first and second Tests.
Siddle, the 34-year-old veteran of 66 Tests, is perhaps the most likely incumbent to make way for one of Pattinson or Starc.
Siddle has bowled 67 overs in the series, the third most by a fast bowler behind England's Stuart Broad (79.1 overs) and outright leader Cummins (82.3).
Having spent five-and-a-half years in the wilderness between his first and second Tests due to injury, Cummins has been Australia most durable quick since his return in March 2017.
The 26-year-old has missed just two Tests – against Pakistan in the UAE last October – since his comeback against India in Ranchi, and has been bowling at full tilt for four months straight, starting with the pre-tour camp in Brisbane in May, all 10 of Australia's games in the World Cup plus the first two Tests of the Ashes.
While Langer has said he would like Cummins, the world No.1 Test bowler, to play every game, the coach said it might not be "humanly possible".
Paine said the right-armer is holding up well physically but knows their star fast bowler must be managed to keep him on the park.
"He's pretty good, no complaints from him so far," Paine said when asked how Cummins was holding up after a huge northern summer in the UK.
"In the last 12-18 months his body has really matured and he can handle a really big workload.
"Not only do you see a high level of skill from Pat all the time but he's highly competitive as well.
"He's a great weapon for us and someone we certainly need to look after.
"But at this stage he's handling the workload really well and he's a super professional the way he prepares himself, the way he looks after his body."
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