Usman Khawaja dropped as Steve Smith back in fourth Ashes Test
Australia dropped Opening Batsmen Usman Khawaja for the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford, giving way to the return of Steve Smith.
The selectors named a 12-man squad for the Test Match starting Wednesday, with David Warner and Marcus Harris as Opening Batsmen but leaving out Khawaja, who averaged only 20.33 in six innings in the batting series at number three.
Steve Smith with leading score suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by Jofra Archer in the second Test at Lord’s, returns after being left out of last week’s dying defeat at Headingley, which levelled the series of five 1-1 matches with two tries play.
Smith has scored 378 runs in a 126-way average in three innings in the series and returned to the field in last week’s tour match against Derbyshire.
Khawaja, 32-years-old, scored 72 when opening the batting against Derbyshire, but it was not enough to convince the selectors to keep him aside.
Harris held back after doing eight and 19 at Headingley in his first Ash Test and then scoring 64 against Derbyshire before he ran out in confusion with Khawaja.
-Australia coach Justin Langer-
Coach Justin Langer told reporters in Manchester that he is “unequivocal in the 12th, not so sure at 11”, and that the decision reduces to bowling.
Bowling player James Pattinson has also stayed out, leaving fast players Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle to compete for three spots.
Langer said losing at Headingley to a wicket after taking England out of 67 in the first innings was a “tough loss” for the team, but his preparations for the next match is substantial.
“We feel like the ashes stolen the other day,” he said of England’s successful pursuit of his record target 359. “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 like fire, we’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves.”
Australian Squad fourth Ashes: Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matt Wade, and Josh Hazlewood.