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Head in, Khawaja misses out — Australia names its XI for the first Ashes Test

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Australia has named its team for the first Ashes Test against England at the Gabba, with South Australia’s Travis Head preferred for the last batting spot ahead of Queensland veteran Usman Khawaja.

Selectors had already confirmed that Alex Carey would be Australia’s wicketkeeper for the Gabba, replacing former skipper Tim Paine.

Head made his Test debut against Pakistan in Dubai in 2018, and played most of the Ashes series the following year.

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His last match was last year’s Boxing Day Test against India.

The Redbacks skipper has been in a battle with the Bulls’ Khawaja for the spot in the middle order for this summer.

In the final Sheffield Shield match before the test series, Head may have clinched his spot with a century against Khawaja and his Queensland team, although the Bulls’ captain made a quickfire 52 off 36 balls to earn his team outright points.

Head has averaged 39.75 in 19 Tests for Australia, with two centuries and seven 50s.

The 34-year-old Khawaja’s last Test was against England in the Headingley Test in 2019, made famous by Ben Stokes’ match-winning innings of 135.

Khawaja has averaged 40.66 in 44 Tests, with eight centuries and 14 50s.   

Australian XI:  David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc.

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More to come.

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