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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Cummins ponders big selection calls for crucial fourth Ashes Test


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Leeds: Australia captain Pat Cummins says all selection options will be considered when he chooses the XI for the critical fourth Ashes Test against England in Manchester.

Cummins’ side picked up their first defeat of the new ICC World Test Championship cycle when falling to a three-wicket loss to their old foe at Headingley on Sunday, but now have plenty of time to ponder what went wrong ahead of the next Test of an absorbing series at Old Trafford from July 19.

The Aussies expect to have all-rounder Cameron Green and experienced seamer Josh Hazlewood available for selection after they missed the third Test, while a re-shuffle at the top of the batting order could also be on the cards as Australia attempt to add to their 2-1 series lead, the ICC reported.

Veteran opener David Warner fell twice to long-time nemesis Stuart Broad at Headingley for scores of four and one, and the left-hander now has 141 runs for the series at an average of 23.50.

Cummins said all options will be on the table when selecting Australia’s XI for Manchester and a decision would not be made until closer to the Test and after seeing the conditions and state of the pitch.

“You keep all options open,” Cummins said.

“We’ve got nine or 10 days now, so we’ll take a deep breath. We’ll go away for a few days,” he said.

“But everyone comes back into it. Greeny should be fit for Manchester. Josh (Hazlewood) will be back in there as well. So we should have a full roster and we’ll have a look at the wicket and have a chat and work out the best XI,” Cummins said.

Cummins stopped short of guaranteeing all-rounder Mitch Marsh his place for Old Trafford, but admitted it would be difficult to leave out the 31-year-old following his superb century at Headingley and solid contributions with the ball.

“Yeah, it’s possible but, I mean, it was a pretty impressive week, wasn’t it?” Cummins said of Marsh.

Cummins also expects to use inexperienced spinner Todd Murphy more in Manchester, after the right-armer bowled just two overs during England’s second innings as the seamers were preferred at a critical junction of the match.

Murphy managed just one wicket for the contest in what was his first appearance of the series in the absence of first-choice spinner Nathan Lyon, but Cummins thinks the 22-year-old can have more influence over the remainder of the series.

“It was conditions based as it didn’t spin quite as much as we thought it would,” Cummins explained.

“We would have liked to have got Todd into the game a bit more and I am sure next week in Manchester there will be a bit more spin for him,” he added.


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