Rory Burns Getty Images
Rory Burns Getty Images

Both Australia and England announced their playing XI on the eve of the Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne. It’s a do or die game for the visitors as they need to win the remaining three games to regain the Ashes.

England made as many as 4 changes in their playing XI. Opener Zak Crawley will replace Rory Burns in the top order while Jonny Bairstow will make it into XI in place of Ollie Pope.

England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson, Twitter

They also made a couple of changes in their bowling attack as they brought their spinner back in form of Jack Leach. Mark Wood, who was rested for the pink ball Test, also returned to the final XI. The veteran pacer Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes made way for them.

Jonny Bairstow had the experience of Australian conditions before as the 32-year old batter played 7 Test matches down under though he hasn’t much to show in his resume barring a hundred at Perth in 2017. On the other side, it will be the first Ashes test for the opener Zak Crawley.

Speaking to the media, England captain Joe Root backed England to turn things around at Melbourne.

“The two performances we have put out have not been good enough. It’s been basic mistakes. We have addressed it, spoken about it and I expect to be a lot better. It has been a mental thing for us. Not through lack of confidence, but understanding the conditions and sniffing out the danger. I think we can be a bit smarter about that,” Root said.

England Make 4 changes For Boxing Day Test, Australia Handed Scott Boland Debut 1
Scott Boland. Getty Images.

Meanwhile, Australia handed a surprising debut to victorian pacer Scott Boland. The 32-year old pacer was added to the squad only as a cover but Josh Hazlewood hasn’t recovered from side strain yet and they also decided to rest Jhye Richardson as a precautionary measure.

“He was pretty sore. We were umming and ahhing – he had a bowl yesterday but we thought seven days off (before the fourth Test in Sydney) will give him enough rest. He’s got a small leg injury which is nothing major but we thought rather than risking a long-term injury, we’d give him a week off,” Pat Cummins spoke to the media about changes.

Australian skipper Pat Cummins himself returned to the XI after missing out Adelaide Test because he was identified as a close contact of Covid-19 positive.

Playing XIs:

England: Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (C), Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (c), Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins (C), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

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