Australia has announced their Playing XI for the fourth match of the ongoing Ashes 2023 series, with fast-bowling all-rounder Cameron Green and pace bowler Josh Hazlewood making their return. This marks the first time in over a decade that Australia will go into a Test match without a specialist spinner.
Green and Hazlewood replace Scott Boland and Todd Murphy from the side that suffered a three-wicket defeat at Headingley. Green, who has recovered from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Leeds Test, is slated to bat at number seven, following Mitch Marsh at number six. Wicketkeeper Alex Carey will come in at number eight as Australia reconfigured their team balance to accommodate the two all-rounders.
Marsh secured his spot with a magnificent century in Leeds, resulting in Murphy being left out of the team. Green’s return provides captain Pat Cummins with five pace bowling options.
Cummins, Mitchell Starc, and Josh Hazlewood will lead the pace attack, with Marsh and Green providing support. The squad also has part-time spinners in Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Travis Head.
Despite speculation about his position following dismissals for single-digit scores by Stuart Broad in the third Test, David Warner has been retained in the team. Cummins acknowledged that Warner had a tough game at Headingley but highlighted his previous performances, including three 50-run opening partnerships, which are uncommon in England.
Australia has not fielded a specialist spinner in a Test match since January 2012, when they faced India at the WACA with four specialist seamers. This was before Nathan Lyon had established himself in the side. With Lyon currently sidelined due to a calf injury, Australia once again finds themselves in a situation where the spinner’s position is not automatic.
Murphy, who played four Tests against India earlier this year alongside Lyon, made a decent debut at Headingley, dismissing Ben Stokes in the first innings but only bowling two overs in the second. While Cummins expressed excitement about Murphy, he clarified that the 22-year-old is not a like-for-like replacement for Nathan Lyon.
Meanwhile, England has also confirmed their XI for the fourth Test, with James Anderson returning in place of Ollie Robinson as the only change from the winning team at Headingley.
Australia XI for the fourth Test
David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood
England XI for fourth Test
Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson