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Usman Khawaja to open in final Ashes Test with Marcus Harris axed

Usman Khawaja to open in final Ashes Test with Marcus Harris axed

  • Twin century-maker in Sydney to partner David Warner
  • Australia hopeful Scott Boland will prove fitness for Hobart Test

Opener Marcus Harris has been axed for the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart, where Australia are upbeat Scott Boland will prove his fitness and play. Pat Cummins confirmed Harris’s omission, with Usman Khawaja to open the batting alongside David Warner in the pink-ball Test that begins on Friday.

Boland, who hurt his ribs while tumbling onto the pitch during a bowling mishap at the SCG, will attempt to bowl at training on Thursday. Jhye Richardson or Michael Neser will be called into Australia’s XI if selectors or medical staff decide there is too much risk involved with Boland backing up.

But Cummins is hopeful that will not be necessary, striking a confident tone while discussing Boland’s hopes.

“We’ll see how Scotty goes,” Cummins said. “He’ll just have a bowl and judge it. It feels a little bit better than it did a few days ago. He bowled 30-40 overs [in Sydney] after he did the injury, which gives us a lot of confidence he can get through it. It’s an injury he is confident doesn’t get worse with heaps of bowling … hopefully he can manage.”

Boland failed to bowl during Wednesday’s training session. “I didn’t have a bowl either,” Cummins said. “It’s [because of] a pretty tight turnaround between Tests after a big workload.”

Cummins indicated Harris knew the tap on the shoulder was coming.

“The message to Harry is we think he is going really well,” the skipper said. “It’s really tough on him. It’s not too often that someone comes in and gets two hundreds in the same game.

“But yeah, I think Marcus has been really good. He’s been growing each game. He was a huge part in how he won that MCG Test, it was a crucial innings, so he’s certainly part of the future.”

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