Fri, Nov 17, 3:51pm by Head Editor
Despite not taking the gloves for Tasmania in their opening three Sheffield Shield rounds, Tim Paine will dust off his Baggy Green after being named as a surprise inclusion for the Ashes series, which begins on Thursday.
The 32-year-old has played just four Tests, and hasn’t featured in the Australian XI since October 2010, has leapfrogged fellow Tasmanian and incumbent Matthew Wade and NSW gloveman Peter Nevill.
The surprise selections didn’t end there with Western Australia opener Cameron Bancroft also named in the 13-man squad, after he made an unbeaten 228 against South Australia earlier in the week, which backed up a pair of half-centuries he compiled against Australia’s Test attack in the game against NSW last week.
24-year-old Bancroft comes in at the expense of Matt Renshaw, who has managed just 70 runs in six innings for Queensland so far, this Shield season.
The third surprise in the team was veteran Shaun Marsh, who has been recalled after making a strong start to the domestic season. The 34-year-old’s inclusion has received plenty of criticism, especially on social media.
The West Aussie has scored six scores of 50 or more in as many knocks across the end of the English summer and start of the Australian one, and is the beneficiary of the selectors’ decision not to pick an all-rounder.
It will be the first-time Marsh has played in a home Ashes Test, when the series begins in Brisbane on Thursday.
England lead a Cricket Australia XI by 87 at stumps on day two of their final warm-up game in Townsville, largely thanks to Mark Stoneman, who became the first player on tour to hit triple-figures. The opener made 111.
Australia Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.
Australia are out from $1.70 to $1.77 to win the opening Test at the Gabba, but remain rock solid at $1.36 to regain the Ashes. England are $4 to retain the urn.
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