In place of current number five Matthew Wade, veteran Usman Khawaja and middle-order batsman Travis Head were reinstated to Australia’s squad for the first two Ashes Tests against England on Wednesday. After the surprising retirement of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood, Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson were added to the 15-man line-up as back-ups for the fast-bowling assault of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood.

Marcus Harris was given the start in place of Will Pucovski, who was sidelined due to a concussion, and is slated to open with David Warner, fresh off his heroics in helping Australia win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday. Despite requests for the all-rounder to be given another chance at Test level, fellow World Cup performer Mitchell Marsh was left out.

“We are seeking to establish a strong team attitude over what is going to be an extraordinarily exciting summer of cricket,” said chief selector George Bailey ahead of the first Test on December 8 in Brisbane. We have a well-balanced group here to ensure we are ready for the many obstacles that an Ashes series brings. It’s made up of a combination of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming talent. We’ll take this 15-player team to Brisbane for the first Test and Adelaide for the pink ball match, after which we’ll review for the other matches,” he said.

The series then rolls on to Melbourne and Sydney before concluding in Perth. Following a 2-2 tie in England in 2019, Australia retained the Ashes and retained the urn. Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith have secured their spots in the starting lineup at three and four, respectively, leaving Khawaja and Head to compete for the fifth spot after Wade was released.