LONDON: Tim Paine described the fifth Ashes Test as Australia’s “grand final” as they target their first series win in England since 2001.
The tourists have already retained the urn after winning the fourth Test at Old Trafford to take a 2-1 lead but captain Paine said they were “very hungry” to complete the job at the Oval.
All-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been recalled to the 12-man squad in place of Travis Head to ease the workload on Australia’s impressive pace attack.
“We’ve already spoken a lot about it (the final Test),” Paine said on Wednesday on the eve of the match. “We came here to win the Ashes, not just to retain them.
“Last week’s result was brilliant and we played very well but all the guys are fully aware that this Test match is bigger than that one.
“This is our grand final. We want this Test just as much as any other Test that we’ve played in this series.”
Australia bounced back to win the fourth match of the series at Old Trafford after Ben Stokes inspired England to a dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley.
Root’s captaincy has come under scrutiny after England’s failure to regain the Ashes but Paine said Australia would not underestimate him. “We know Joe Root’s a fantastic cricketer,” he said. “I don’t get sometimes why he’s under so much scrutiny but that’s this level of international sport.
“We know how competitive he is, we know how good he is, we know he’ll be coming hard and looking to bounce back this week so he’s a huge wicket for us as he always is.”
Paine said Marsh’s inclusion was aimed at easing the workload on his impressive pace attack and that he had “full faith” in his batting.
“We just wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and be able to look after our big fast bowlers,” said Paine.
England drop Roy
Meanwhile, England have dropped Jason Roy for the fifth Ashes Test, as they look to level the series at 2-2.
One-day specialist Roy was handed his Test debut against Ireland in July after making a devastating impact at the top of the order during England’s victorious World Cup campaign. But the Surrey batsman failed to impress in the first four matches of the Ashes, either as an opener or when he dropped down the order in the fourth Test, where he made a top score of 31.
Paceman Craig Overton has also been left out for the clash at the Oval, with all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, who made way for Overton at Old Trafford last week, coming into the side.
The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed that Ben Stokes would play as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury.
Captain Joe Root said Roy had missed out because the side needed re-balancing due to Stokes’s injury. “It’s always tough to leave guys out, but Stokesy obviously picked up a shoulder injury in the last game and won’t be able to bowl the overs we normally expect him to,” he said at ground on Wednesday. — AFP