Australian left-handed batter Usman Khawaja will retain his place in the XI for the final Test match at Hobart. However, he has been promoted to open the innings replacing Marcus Harris. Travis Head, who missed out on the fourth test match due to Covid-19, will return to no.5.
Notable that Khawaja scored twin hundreds at Sydney in his return to Test Cricket. It was his first test match in the last 16 months. Khawaja’s promotion means Marcus Harris will miss out who scored 179 runs with an average of 29.83.
Khawaja’s batting average as a Test opener is 96.80
“I think he (Harris) knew it was coming, The message to ‘Harry’ is that we think he’s going really well, it’s tough on him. It’s not too often that someone comes in and gets two hundreds in the same game. I thought Marcus has been really good, he’s been growing with each game. He was a huge part of why we won that MCG Test. He’s certainly part of the future, we’ll keep investing him,” Pat Cummins spoke to the media on the match eve.
The opening position is not something new for Khawaja as he had phenomenal success at top of the order. Khawaja, as an opener, scored 484 runs in 7 innings with an average of 96.80 which included 2 hundreds. He scored a hundred as an opener in the pink-ball Test against South Africa in Adelaide 2016.
Meanwhile, there are some doubts over Scott Boland’s availability for the pink ball Test at Hobart as the fast bowler is still recovering from his rib injury. Boland landed awkwardly on his ribs during the first innings of the Sydney Test. Boland had a sensational start to his Test career as he picked 14 wickets in 2 Tests with an average of 8.64 which included the figures of 6/7 in his debut Test match.
However, Cummins stated that both Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are fit and available for the selection in case Boland misses out.
“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. Jhye coming off a five-for in the pink ball (means) he’s probably the next one (in) but we’ll have that conversation when we need to,” Cummins told reporters.
“It’s a pretty tight turnaround between Tests. We think he (Boland) should be right but he’ll just have another bowl in the nets.” he added.
Australia is currently leading the series by 3-0 as the Sydney test ended on a thrilling draw when Anderson and Broad denied them the final wicket to avoid the possibility of a whitewash.