SYDNEY: Australia knocked down batter Usman Khawaja on Tuesday for the fourth ash test against England at Old Trafford, giving way to Steve Smith’s return.
The selectors named a squad of 12 men for the Test as of Wednesday, with David Warner and Marcus Harris as starters, but leaving out Khawaja, who averaged only 20.33 in six innings in the batting series at number three.
The hitter leader Smith, who suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by Jofra Archer in the second test at Lord´s, returns after staying out of the agonizing defeat last week at Headingley, which leveled the series of five 1-1 matches with two tests play.
Smith has scored 378 runs in an average of 126 in three innings in the series and returned to the field in last week’s tour game against Derbyshire.
Khawaja, 32, scored 72 when he opened the bat against Derbyshire, but it wasn’t enough to convince the selectors to keep him aside.
Harris has been retained after doing eight and 19 at Headingley in his first Ashes Test and then scoring 64 against Derbyshire before he ran out in confusion with Khawaja.
Coach Justin Langer told reporters in Manchester that he was “very clear in 12, not so sure in 11,” and that the decision was reduced to bowling.
Bowler James Pattinson has also been left out, leaving fast players Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle to compete for three places.
Langer said losing to Headingley for a wicket after taking England for 67 in the first innings was a “really difficult loss” for the team, but his preparations for the next game had been solid.
“We feel that the ashes were stolen the other day,” he said of England’s successful pursuit of its 359 record target. “To England’s great credit, that’s what they did: they won that test match.”
“Now we have to decide what we’re going to do: we’re going to use that as fire, we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves.”