Todd Murphy, who missed out at Old Trafford, is expected to play in the Oval Test.
Mitchell Marsh‘s fitness could determine if Cameron Green is dropped for the last Ashes Test at The Oval for the first time in his Test career.
Marsh, who assisted Australia in completing 30 overs at Old Trafford alongside Marnus Labuschagne on Saturday, was injured throughout the game and did not bowl on the third day.
He and Green were accommodated in Australia’s XI for the Old Trafford Test by the omission of Todd Murphy, the first time Australia had not fielded a specialist spinner in 11 years, but he is expected to return for the final Test.
Green’s position may be safe if Marsh is unable to bowl, while Australia’s coach Andrew McDonald stated that runs are the most crucial component for whoever bats at No. 6. Having that alternative pace option, though, has been critical in controlling the workload of the primary quicks.
“The team has played three quicks and one spinner, and we’ve done it before,” McDonald explained. “We’ve had the luxury of all-rounders, specifically Cameron Green, which has changed the shape of the team over time. “The runs were first and foremost premium.”
Green’s challenging Ashes
Green has battled to establish his rhythm with the bat on this tour, averaging 19.14 against India and England, and he was tentative again at Old Trafford, despite getting a borderline LBW verdict against Chris Woakes in the first innings.
Green has only missed two games in his 24-match Test career due to injury: a fractured finger suffered against South Africa last December, which also kept him out of the start of the India series, and a hamstring complaint on this tour.
Green has barely spent two nights at home in nearly six months, following the India tour with a complete IPL season for the Mumbai Indians. After that campaign, he squeezed in a quick trip back to Perth before joining Australia’s training camp in the United Kingdom a few days later than others.
“He’s had a different experience,” McDonald remarked. “He’s had the IPL, and people are probably assuming that it has affected the way he’s handled things here.” But… I believe he is in a good place. I believe you’ll notice that many of our batters are focusing on the correct things, and the way they go about it, runs are just around the corner.”
IPL adds a new layer for all-format Green
Green has become an all-format performer in the past year, securing a lucrative AUD$3.15 million deal at the IPL, where he went on to achieve his maiden T20 century when he hammered 100 off 47 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“He’s still young, he’s still learning his trade, and this is his first time in these conditions,” Labuschagne said at Old Trafford. “With the IPL, there wasn’t much time to adjust, but I think he’s doing well.”
Green discussed the difficulty of transferring between formats last year, when he was part of Australia’s T20 World Cup squad and subsequently had a sluggish start to his Test season. The lack of time in the middle was a problem on that occasion, with him being mostly unnoticed during the World Cup, only appearing in the last game against Afghanistan. He was also unable to play in the Sheffield Shield.
It’s a situation he may face again this year with the ODI World Cup in October and November, though there’s a chance he won’t be selected for the T20 series in India that follows, and he might be able to get some Shield cricket for Western Australia ahead of the Test series against Pakistan.
Marsh, on the other hand, may now be at the top of the all-rounder pecking order following his remarkable return to Test cricket, which included a thrilling century at Headingley and two crucial innings at Old Trafford.
Neser could come into consideration for The Oval.
Along with Marsh, Australia will check Mitchell Starc’s fitness after he landed heavily on his shoulder on the second day of play, though he was able to resume bowling the next morning. Cramping has been blamed for what looked to be a leg ailment.
If the speed of the attack needs to be changed, Michael Neser might start the series ahead of Scott Boland, who has been mostly dominated by England.
“He dived and landed on the point of his shoulder, then the other time he slipped down on the rope and sort of extended the shoulder joint,” McDonald said of Starc. “So he’s looking a little worse for wear and a little sore. All indications are that he’ll be fine to go, but that will be determined.
“Everyone is on the table, every choice.” And Michael [Neser] is well aware of this. He was a genuine consideration both here and at Leeds, so you’re always sort of weighing guys who are already up and running in the series vs. freshness.”
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