Scott Boland has retained his place in the Australia XI for the fourth Ashes Test while Usman Khawaja will replace Travis Head, says captain Pat Cummins.
Josh Hazlewood had been expected to return for the SCG Test starting on Wednesday but has not been able to prove his fitness after a side injury, while Cummins said Jhye Richardson wasn’t 100 per cent either.
Boland had come into the XI for the Boxing Day Test alongside Cummins at the expense of sore pair Richardson and Michael Neser and excelled with a Player of the Match 6-7 in the second innings.
“It’s no secret that if Joshy Hazlewood was available then he was going to play,” Cummins told reporters on Tuesday morning.
“He’s been just a brilliant bowler for us for a long period of time. We gave Josh every chance we could, just felt like he couldn’t bowl at full tilt yesterday. We’re still hoping he’ll be right for Hobart.”
Cummins added: “You need that disciplined stump-to-stump bowler and that’s what Scotty brings to the table. It’s a real luxury for us to have someone like Scotty we feel really well placed at the moment with so many options.
“It would have been a real shame to see Scotty not play this week after his efforts last week. He’s bowling as well as he ever has, it’s great that he can keep going from last week.”
Khawaja returns to the Test XI for the first time since the 2019 Ashes having scored two centuries this Sheffield Shield season for Queensland.
Head is out having tested positive to COVID-19 following the MCG Test. He is still isolating in Melbourne but is expected to play in the fifth Test in Hobart starting on January 14.