Childhood mates David Warner and Usman Khawaja will open the batting for Australia in the fifth and final Ashes starting in Hobart on Friday (January 14). Khawaja, who scored century in both innings in the 4th Test at the SCG against England, replaces Marcus Harris as the opener with Travis Head returning to the playing XI.
Warner and Khawaja first batted together 28 years back in New South Wales club cricket, playing together in the Waverley Oval in Sydney. Australia captain Pat Cummins confirmed Harris’ omission on Thursday, while also saying fast bowler Scott Boland’s place in the XI was subject to a fitness test. Boland hurt his ribs while tumbling onto the pitch during a bowling mishap in the Sydney test.
Jhye Richardson or Michael Neser will be called into Australia’s lineup if selectors or doctors decide there is too much risk involved in picking Boland, who didn’t bowl during Wednesday’s training session. After scores of 3, 9 not out, 3 and 23 in the first two tests, Harris’ place in the side came under scrutiny.
“The 90s just seemed way easier @usman_khawajy #cricketer #ashes #friends #brothers,” Warner wrote in the pictures caption, which had got over 3.5 lakh likes on Instagram.
David Warner’s wife Candice Warner wrote, “What a journey you have both been on to get to where you are. Enjoy the moment and walk out there for those two little boys who used to hit balls against the wall at Waverley oval.”
Meanwhile, England captain Joe Root won the toss and elected to field in the final Ashes Test against Australia at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval on Friday. For England, Sam Billings makes his Test debut against Australia who have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
(with Reuters inputs)