Aussies could make surprise selection for third Ashes Test with injury doubts over pace attack

Australia will wait until the toss to name their team for the third Ashes Test at Headingley, as selectors weigh up how to best manage bowlers on a short turnaround and whether Mitchell Marsh should come into the side for his first match in four years.

Captain Pat Cummins confirmed that Todd Murphy would play his first Ashes Test in place of the injured Nathan Lyon, but the rest of the bowling line-up remains up in the air.

The shock inclusion could be Marsh. The West Australian trained extensively on Wednesday, while fellow all-rounder Cameron Green did not participate in the optional session.

Green was asked to send down 13 overs in England’s fourth innings over the weekend, including a sustained short-pitched approach that takes more out of the bowlers.

Australia know they must tread carefully with Green given his previous back injuries, and he has played three Tests in the space of a month following an extended stint bowling less overs in the IPL.

If Marsh was to be recalled, it would mark the 31-year-old’s first Test since he took his maiden five-wicket haul against England at The Oval in 2019.

Mitch Marsh

(Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief selector George Bailey has previously indicated that Australia learned a lesson on their India tour earlier this year that they need an all-rounder to balance out their side after playing the first two Tests of that series with just four frontline bowlers.

With the Ashes able to be won in Leeds, Australia are attempting to strike a balance between going all out in pursuit of a 3-0 lead and trying to keep something in reserve for the final two Tests.

The quicks sent down a combined 50 overs on Sunday, with the longer-lasting impacts of Lyon’s injury now being felt in the squad.

Josh Hazlewood remains the most likely to be rested on Thursday, given he entered the series off a long run of injuries and has played back-to-back Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s.

If he does not play, or if it is deemed that Mitchell Starc must be put on ice, Scott Boland will be the man to come in.

Cummins indicated at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday selectors were deliberating on more than just whether to play Hazlewood or Boland.

Cameron Green celebrates.

Cameron Green celebrates. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“That’s one of (the considerations), and we haven’t made a decision,” Cummins said.

“Literally the last couple of days, us bowlers haven’t been here. We have been chilling out.

“We will get together (Wednesday) afternoon, and talk through a few different scenarios.”

Cummins also said it was a fine line between keeping the foot on England going into the third Test, while ensuring he looked after his fellow bowlers. “You balance up all those things,” he added.

“You want to make sure someone gets through a game first of all, everyone even Nathan Lyon has risk going into a game.

“You balance it up and you just go in with the best XI you think for each game really, and that’s some due to injury some due to freshness. But it is a five-Test series.”

with AAP

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