Ashes 2021-22: Australia name playing XI for Sydney Test, Usman Khawaja replaces Travis Head

Khawaja hasn't played a Test since the 2019 Ashes.

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Usman Khawaja
Usman Khawaja. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Usman Khawaja has replaced Travis Head as Australia named their playing XI for the fourth Ashes Test, starting Wednesday, January 5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Khawaja hasn’t played Test since the 2019 Ashes in England and got a chance after Head was tested positive for COVID-19. Head is currently isolating in Melbourne along with his partner as per the rules of the Victorian government.

Head is presently the second-highest run-scorer of the series, having amassed 248 runs from three games at an average of 62. His top score of 152 came in the first innings of the opening Test at The Gabba in Brisbane. Josh Hazlewood hasn’t gained full fitness and hence couldn’t make the cut for the SCG Test, Aussie skipper Pat Cummins confirmed.

“It’s no secret that if Joshy Hazlewood was available then he was going to play. 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 told.

Scott Boland retains his spot in the Australia XI

Fast bowler Scott Boland, who replaced Jhye Richardson in the Boxing Day Test, retained his place in the team. Cummins said that it would have been unfair on Boland to sit out especially after his six-wicket haul in the Melbourne Test.

Boland also became the Player of the Match in the MCG Test that Australia won by an innings and 14 runs. Moreover, Cummins lauded the pacer for hitting the right channels and adding value to the Australia pace bowling unit.

“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,” Cummins stated.

“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,” Cummins added.

Australia have already taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series after their resounding win in Melbourne.

Australia XI

Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland

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