England will be up against a challenge perhaps even bigger than the recently held World Cup when they face arch-rivals Australia in the Ashes starting August 1. The battle of the prestige will be at the fore and it will be the first time that the Kangaroos will be facing the world champions, for a change. The first Test at Edgbaston will also mark the beginning of the World Test Championship which will culminate into the final in June 2021 at Lord’s.
With the two teams getting things tightened ahead of the mega series, former Australia spin wizard Shane Warne made himself relevant once again. The 49-year-old came up with his playing XI and the entire squad for the opening Test which will be the 347th between the two since the first was played in 1877. Australia have a 144-109 lead over their opponents while 94 games have ended in a draw.
Warne backs Bancroft in the squad
Shane Warne, who is the second-highest wicket-taker in Tests with 708 scalps, called for former vice-captain Mitchell Marsh to return to the team. He also sought for Jhye Richardson, the pacer who missed the World Cup because of injury, and controversy-hit opener Cameron Bancroft in the 17-member squad.
Cameron hasn’t played a single Test since finding himself involved in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year that saw him serving a ban along with senior players like Steve Smith and David Warner. Shane Warne also picked Marcus Harris, who made his debut against India last summer, along with Warner as the openers.
He then went for Usman Khawaja, Smith and Travis Head for the next slots. Warne also chose Matthew Wade while Tim Paine, the wicket-keeper-captain finished the batting line-up. Among the bowlers, the former Australia international selected James Pattinson and Pat Cummins and either of Mitchell Starc, the highest wicket-taker in the World Cup and Josh Hazlewood who missed the World Cup bus.
Warne picked the experienced off-spinner Nathan Lyon as the only specialist slow bowler in the side. Among the other players that Warne kept in his squad are Alex Carey, who impressed all with his batting in the World Cup and young batting sensation Will Pucovski. Australia haven’t won an Ashes in England since 2001.
Here’s Warne’s tweet:
And here’s my Aussie Ashes team/squad for the 1st test.
Starc / Hazlewood
Plus in Squad. A Carey, J Richardson, C Bancroft, M Marsh & W Pucovski
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) July 22, 2019
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