Aussies bench key batsman for fourth Test

Thursday, 05 Sep, 2019

Australia's selectors have dropped their established No. 3 Usman Khawaja and also spelled James Pattinson for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, signalling a change in approach following a narrow defeat at Headingley.

"He's trying to play it down, as any normal person would".

He returned in the three-day match at the County Ground and scored 23 from 38 balls against an attack featuring mostly medium-pacers and appeared to throw his wicket away when slower bowlers were introduced.

"When you get hit, it's always a little voice on your shoulder".

"I'm sure when Steve comes in Jofra will be in Joe Root's ear wanting the ball, no doubt about that".

"He's in the 12, so he's close", Paine said.

"It might be right, it might be wrong, that's just a strong belief I have".

And while fast and true ought to excite batsmen with the confidence to hit through the line - if any such batsmen remain in a summer notable for inconsistent bounce and blows to the helmet - it also brings the two sides' fast bowlers into the equation.

While Broad welcomed the return of Smith after the worrying injury he sustained at Lord's, he warned that Test cricket was a "brutal sport" and there would be no respite in England's attempt to discomfort him.

"I had in my mind the idea that it was nearly written in the stars that he would be back, open the bowling at the James Anderson End and bowl us to victory, but that's not going to happen".

"I was certainly one of those people that made mistakes".

Australia's World Cup spearhead could be recalled for the fourth Test, with the pitch at Old Trafford expected to be the quickest of the series. "I think he is ready to go, so I would roll the dice with him and play him in the fourth Test match", he said. "He's a great player to have there".

For the first time ever India completed a clean sweep of a Test series in the Caribbean by taking the second Test at Kingston's famed Sabina Park by a massive 257 runs. Smith is now back on the field and with Marnus Labuschagne in there as well Australia have got a potent middle order all of a sudden.

Despite the extraordinary heroics of Ben Stokes' steering England to a famous one-wicket victory at Headingley last week, it is Archer and his searing pace which remains the x-factor which can strike fear into the Australian batting line-up.

Mitchell Marsh, like Starc pushing for his first Test of the series, then took two wickets in three balls to reduce Derbyshire to 99-7.

Smith has scored 378 runs at a mean of 126 in three innings within the collection and was again on the sphere in final week's tour match towards Derbyshire.