Marcus Harris has been left out for the final Ashes Test in Hobart with Usman Khawaja to open alongside David Warner and Travis Head set to bat in the middle order.
Australia’s bowling attack is still to be declared with captain Pat Cummins confirming Scott Boland would need to pass a fitness test on his rib injury to play in Hobart. The signs were positive with a team spokesperson confirming Boland came through training with “no problems” but would face a final assessment in the morning. Jhye Richardson will likely be called in as replacement if Boland does not come up. Mitchell Starc is set to play after pulling up well having played all four Tests so far.
Khawaja had made an irresistible case to be retained in the side for the fifth Test after striking centuries in both innings at Sydney. Head was guaranteed to return after missing the SCG Test due to Covid-19 and the selectors made the tough decision to leave Harris out.
“I think he knew was it was coming,” Cummins said on Thursday. “The message to Harry is we think he is going really well. It’s really tough on him. It’s not too often someone comes in and hits two hundreds in the same game. But I thought Marcus has been really good I think he’s been growing with each game he was a huge part in how we won that MCG Test with a crucial innings.
“So he’s certainly part of the future. We’ll keep investing in him. I think he’s been going really well.”
It is the third time Harris has been dropped in his rather short 14-Test career. The selectors were adamant to give him a run at the top of the order and he has featured in Australia’s last five Test matches after coming in for the final match against India last summer. But he has crossed 50 just three times in 26 Test innings and only once in his last five matches, which was a match-winning 76 in the third Test at the MCG.
“No, absolutely not,” Cummins said. “I think Uzzy and Davey have really earned that spot to open the batting but the reality is they’re both 35 years old. So whilst that doesn’t mean anything in the short, short term there will be a day where we need to find some other openers. Marcus is still absolutely got a huge future with us. He’ll be around the squad.
I think there might even be an Australia A tour go overseas in the off-season. Of course, there’s heaps of Shield cricket and county cricket as well so for sure this is probably more a case of someone demanding a spot as opposed to Marcus losing his spot.”
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.