Ashes 2021-22: Usman Khawaja to open in the final Ashes Test; Marcus Harris dropped

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Australian batting sensation Usman Khawaja will open for his team in the upcoming fifth Ashes test in Hobart against England in place Marcus Harris, who has been dropped from the side, confirmed captain Pat Cummins on Thursday.

Khawaja, who replaced Travis Head in the middle order in the fourth Test, grabbed opportunity from both hands, hitting centuries in each innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground to mark his stunning return after more than two years out of the red-ball unit.

Head will also return at his number five position after contracting COVID-19 and being forced into isolation following Australia’s series-sealing win in the third Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Harris, on the other hand, had to face the heat after scoring 179 runs at an average of 29.83 in the series.

Cummins said that he had anticipated this but also declared they will keep investing in Harris as the left-handed batter is in their scheme of things in the future.

“I think he knew it was coming. The message to ‘Harry’ is that we think he’s going really well; it’s tough on him. It’s not too often that someone comes in and gets two hundreds in the same game. I thought Marcus has been really good, he’s been growing with each game. He was a huge part of why we won that MCG Test. He’s certainly part of the future, we’ll keep investing him,” said Cummins as quoted by Cricket.com.au.

Cummins also mentioned that Australia would need some openers in the future as both Khawaja and David Warner are 35-year-old. Hence, the chances of Harris making a comeback is always possible.

“Uzzie and Davey have earned their spots to open the batting, but the reality is they’re both 35 years old. While that doesn’t mean anything in the short term, there will be a day when we need some more openers. This is more of a case of someone demanding a spot rather than Marcus losing his spot due to form,” added Cummins.

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