Veteran paceman Peter Siddle has won a recall for the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval as Australia won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Siddle has been included for left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, while allrounder Mitchell Marsh will bat at number six after he was recalled for Travis Head.
Australia skipper Tim Paine said at the toss his decision to bowl first was due to the overcast conditions and a slight tinge of green in the pitch.
“There is a little bit of overcast cloud and some thick grass on top (of the pitch),” Paine said.
“It will be dry underneath, so if we get it right we should be able to make some inroads.”
Paine think Siddle will be suited by the conditions at The Oval.
“We’ve always said we want to get our bowling group right and we think Peter Siddle can bowl really well in these conditions,” Paine noted.
England have made also made two changes to their team, with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes included for Jason Roy and Craig Overton.
Skipper Joe Root said he would have elected to bat first if England had won the toss.
“It looks a pretty good wicket,” Root said.
“There’s a bit of grass on top so it might move around a little bit, but it does look dry underneath so hopefully that will come into play later on.”
Australia re-claimed the Ashes courtesy of their 185-run victory over England during the fourth Test at Old Trafford, but will be looking to avoid defeat at The Oval to ensure a series triumph.
Paine said the decision to include Marsh was to allow an extra bowling option at the south London venue.
“They’ve bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them,” Paine said.
“It was a really tough call on Travis Head, who’s had a great start to his Test career but we wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and to be able to look after our big fast bowlers.
“Mitchell Marsh has also had a couple of hundreds in Test cricket so we’ve got full faith in him doing the job with the bat as well.”
Head has averaged 27.28 in four Tests this English summer and Paine expects to see the left-hander back playing for his country very soon.
“The reason Travis isn’t playing is because we felt like we needed a little bit of extra bowling at the end of a long series,” Paine explained.
“Mitch Marsh is our allrounder and like we have with our bowlers, it’s not necessarily Travis being dropped.
“We’ve been really clear with Travis on why he’s not playing this game. He’s had a fantastic start (to his Test career), he’s played nine or 10 Tests and has got a very healthy average but we want to get the makeup right to win this Test match.
“Unfortunately we had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis.
“He’s a huge part of Australian cricket future, he’s a gun young player and he’s getting better all the time.
“It’s disappointing for him he’s not playing in this Test match. He’d dearly love to, obviously, but we’ll go back to Australia, conditions will be different.
“There’s no doubt he’s in the top six or seven batsmen in our country.”
AUSTRALIA XI: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitch Marsh, Tim Paine (c, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood
ENGLAND XI: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord’s
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: Australia won by 185 runs at Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval