Ashes 2019: Australia rest seven players from Leeds Test for tour game against Derbyshire

Ashes 2019: Australia rest seven players from Leeds Test for tour game against Derbyshire

Usman Khawaja will lead with Smith set to make a comeback to prove his fitness.

Australian team
Australian team. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Ashes rivals take a pause after their riveting third Test match at Leeds, Headingley, last week in which England snatched a one-wicket victory coming from nowhere. The victory saw the hosts levelling the intensely fought series 1-1 with two games still to go. The crucial fourth Test begins at Old Trafford on September 4 and before that, Australia play a three-day side game against Derbyshire at County Ground, Derby, starting Thursday.

The Kangaroos have made some changes in their side taking the field in the practice game. Usman Khawaja will lead Australia in the game in the place of regular captain Tim Paine who has been rested. Alex Carey has been included to replace Paine as the wicket-keeper. It is an interesting move since Khawaja has been struggling in this Ashes and has failed to make a single fifty in any of his six innings played so far.

Coach Justin Langer although has backed the southpaw but it is no hidden fact that the Pakistan-born batsman is under a lot of pressure to perform. Lobbing the captaincy key to him makes it even more challenging for him.

Smith to play the tour game

Australia have also decided to rest some other key players for the side game and they include vice-captain Travis Head, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon and James Pattinson. The visitors want them to re-energise themselves before what is expected to be two big back-to-back Tests to determine the Ashes winners.

The absence of as many as seven squad members in the side leaves a man short for the Derbyshire game and that has led to calling up of Carrey who has been playing for Sussex since the end of the ICC World Cup last month. He will return to Sussex once the side game ends on Saturday as he has not been formally added to the squad.

Although Australia still have keeper-batsmen in Matthew Wade and Cameron Bancroft to do the job in the absence of Paine, yet they decided to call up Carey and allow the other two to concentrate on their batting. Steve Smith will also play in the game at Derby.

Australia XI for tour match: Usman Khawaja (c), Cameron Bancroft, Alex Carey (wk), Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitch Starc, Matthew Wade.

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