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Australia's David Warner bats during a practice session ahead of the fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester, on Tuesday. Image Credit: Reuters

Manchester: Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will return to try and help them secure the Ashes series against England at Old Trafford this week with a match to spare.

Captain Pat Cummins also said on Tuesday the top five batters will remain but they were considering not playing rookie spinner Todd Murphy.

That could mean a recall of first-choice all-rounder Cameron Green, who was fit after missing the third test at Headingley with a hamstring issue.

Mitch Marsh filled in for Green and hit a brilliant century to pose a selection headache for the selectors.

Managing workload

Australia will confirm its side at the toss on Wednesday. Even after losing at Headingley by three wickets, Australia still leads the series 2-1.

Scott Boland will make way for Hazlewood after taking no wickets in Leeds. Boland has only two wickets in the series from the opening win at Edgbaston.

Hazlewood has eight wickets after also playing in the second win at Lord’s. But he was rested from Headingley to manage his workload.

Retaining the top five means David Warner will continue opening. Warner is averaging 23.5 in six innings but has contributed to opening stands of 61, 73 and 63 with Usman Khawaja.

“(Warner) has been going really well,” Cummins said. “I thought at Lord’s, he was really impressive. Last week, like many of us, he probably didn’t contribute as much as he would have liked with the bat.

Tough circumstances 

“He’s been out there over the last couple of days putting in a lot of work, but I think this tour he has shown a lot of good signs and hasn’t quite kicked on to make that big score. Some of those innings he’s played under really tough circumstances has made it easy for (Steve) Smith to come in and score runs, or the like.”

Australia has not gone into a Test without a frontline slow bowler since January 2012 but with Nathan Lyon injured and Murphy considered more dispensable, it was considering a significant change to the balance of the side. Playing Green and Marsh will shore up the batting but diminish their options in the field. An all-seam attack will have to be complemented by Travis Head’s spin.

Murphy bowled only 9.3 overs for one wicket at Headingley.

“It’s all really conditions based,” Cummins said. “I would have loved to bowl him a bit more but there wasn’t a heap of overs in the game, the ball seemed to swing and seam a little bit, so that’s certainly something to weigh up this week.”

It rained in Manchester most of Tuesday and was to clear early Wednesday. But rain was forecast to return on Saturday.

With Manchester in for a wet weekend, England captain Ben Stokes said he was open to gambling during the game seeing as they have to win again to force a series decider at the Oval.

“With the weather that’s predicted, it might bring more out of us again knowing that we might have to push the game on even more than we normally do,” Stokes said.

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England's Jonny Bairstow with head coach Brendon McCullum during a practice session on Tuesday. Image Credit: Reuters

James Anderson back

England named its side on Monday and made only one change, bringing back James Anderson at his home ground for Ollie Robinson.

Anderson has only three wickets at an average of 75 from the first two tests, but Stokes said his value wasn’t only in wickets.

“When you’re a quality performer like Jimmy has been for the last 10 years, he is going to be disappointed that he’s not contributed to the team like he normally does,” Stokes said.

“But I did say to him, ‘Even if you’re not taking wickets like you want to be doing, at the other end you see the pressure you’re putting on the opposition.’

Bad weather

“He holds an end up without that being his main obligation with the ball. You don’t get as many wickets as him without having the odd bad game here and there — there’s no issues whatsoever with Jimmy.”

Stokes said that forecast bad weather in Manchester could make England even more aggressive. "You never want to look too much into the weather but in the position we find ourselves in, we find we might have to," Stokes said.

"We know we have to win this game to take it to the last game for us to have a chance of getting the urn back.

"Going into the last game 2-0 down, we knew we had to win that so I think that helped us a little bit. Maybe again with the weather that's predicted, it might bring more out of us again knowing that we might have to push the game on even more than we normally do.

"We'll just have to wait and see. If the weather is what it's predicted to be, we might have to."