Usman Khawaja to open; Harris dropped for the Hobart Test

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Usman Khawaja will move up to open the batting for Australia with David Warner in the final Test in Hobart, captain Pat Cummins confirmed on Thursday.

Marcus Harris will make way for Travis Head in the playing eleven for the last Test. Harris has been dropped after modest returns of 179 runs at 29.83 for the series. Head scored a hundred in the very first Test of the Ashes 2021-22, but was forced into isolation following Australia’s series-sealing win in the third test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Khawaja has opened the batting for Australia in five Tests. He has scored two centuries at an unbelievable average of 96.80. He’ll partner David Warner at the top in the Pink Ball Test in Hobart.

”Uzzie and Davey have earnt their spots to open the batting but the reality is they’re both 35 years old. While that doesn’t mean anything in the short term, there will be a day when we need to some more openers. This is more of a case of someone demanding a spot rather than Marcus losing his spot due to form,”  Pat Cummins said of Usman Khawaja’s inclusion in the side.

Victorian seamer Scott Boland passed a fitness Test on his sore ribs Thursday afternoon and has been cleared to play, however, Australian team management said Boland would still need to clear a final assessment on Friday morning. Boland, who hurt his ribs while tumbling onto the pitch during a bowling mishap at the SCG, proceeded to come off his long run and showed few signs of discomfort in the nets.

“Scotty’s ribs are the only factor. He’ll give that a go, if he’s not in then Jhye and Michael Neser are both fit. We’ll work that out this arvo,” Cummins on Boland’s fitness.

The Pink ball Test of the Ashes 2021-22 begins Friday at Hobart. Australia won the first three matches in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne to clinch the series and retain the Ashes before the draw in Sydney.

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