Australia can suffer a major blow as their pack leader Mitchell Starc can miss the first Ashes Test set to be played at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Josh Hazlewood is expected to win the playing XI battle ahead of Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle. Meanwhile, Australia’s head coach has confirmed that fast bowler James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja are almost certain to play the first Ashes Test.

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The southpaw batsman Usman Khawaja had missed out in the semifinal of the World Cup after he had suffered a hamstring injury in the last league match against South Africa. Meanwhile, James Pattinson who has had his share of injuries in the past will also get a shot in the playing XI.

Mitchell Starc (Credits: Getty)

Starc is a doubtful starter.

“Usman Khawaja will definitely be in, he’s fit, ready to go, he’s playing well,” Langer said. “He’s a seasoned pro for us, he averages 40-odd in Test cricket, his hammy’s good, he’s running well, he’s passed all the fitness tests so he’s ready to go. He’ll bat No. 3.”

Meanwhile, Cameron Bancroft is also likely to be in the final XI to partner David Warner at the top of the batting order. Bancroft had scored a fine knock of 93 in the warm-up match and he has also sealed his position in the playing XI. Thus, Cameron Bancroft might win the race against Marcus Harris.

“Like in all these selections, there’s literally a case for 17 blokes to play,” Langer said. “The opening partnership’s going to be really tough, between Cameron and Marcus Harris, really hard. They’ve both got a really strong case, and then the fast bowling spots. There’s probably three to be fair, Starcy, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood, for one spot.

On the other hand, Justin Langer also heaped praise on James Pattinson. Langer added that Tim Paine will find good ways to get the best of the fiery fast bowler.

Cheteshwar Pujara, Justin Langer, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid
Justin Langer (Credits – Getty)

“Just a very, very good bowler,” Langer said of Pattinson. “I’m sure Painey will work out ways of using him, it’s just nice to see him back, it’s a great story isn’t it, coming back from where he was as a young bowler, the back surgeries, to more than likely being selected for this Test match, it’s a great story.

The first Ashes Test will take place from 1st August Test at Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Ashes series will also commence the Test championship.