England bowler Mark Wood
England have recalled fast bowler Mark Wood to replace Stuart Broad to add pep to their attack. Image Credit: ANI

Melbourne: Australia have illustrated the depth of their fast bowling stocks by handing Scott Boland a debut in the third Ashes Test against England, which starts at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday.

The 32-year-old, who plays his domestic cricket at the MCG, will become the first indigenous Australian test player since Jason Gillespie played his last match in 2006 when he receives his baggy green cap on Sunday.

Boland came into the squad on Monday as pace-bowling cover with Josh Hazlewood sidelined by a side strain and Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser suffering the after-effects of playing in the second Test in Adelaide.

“Jhye and Nes were a little bit sore after Adelaide so we’ve decided to go with Scotty,” said captain Pat Cummins, who missed the second test after being adjudged a close contact of a COVID-19 case but returns to the side for the Boxing Day test.


“It’s a luxury to have someone like him, fresh and ready to go.” England made four changes to the side that lost the second test in Adelaide as they bid to keep the Ashes series alive, recalling fast bowler Mark Wood and spinner Jack Leach at the expense of Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes.

Batters Jonny Bairstow and Zak Crawley will feature for the first time this series, replacing Rory Burns and Ollie Pope.

“We have to try and spoil the (Australian) party here on Boxing Day,” wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was quoted as saying by mirror.co.uk. “We want to win the series, we want to win a Test match, we are not here just to take part and let 70,000 Aussies enjoy another victory.

“You want to be part of big occasions, and we have picked a team to cope with that and try to deliver for England. Everyone will be ready for the challenge to do what they can to help the team. We are trying to embrace an Aussies Christmas, but it is a massive game for us and everyone is really excited to play at this brilliant venue and a hostile environment to be enjoyed.

“We need to play our best cricket here and we need to do so fast. The reaction to Adelaide has been honest and there are some great mates in that group so we need to use that honesty and find our best form,” added Buttler.

Australia, who lead the five-match series 2-0, only need to avoid defeat in Melbourne to ensure they retain the Ashes.

Teams: Australia: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

England: Haseeb Hameed, Zac Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, Jimmy Anderson.