David Warner credited Ricky Ponting for helping him rediscover his best form after sharing a round of golf with the former Australia captain.

Warner ended a run of four consecutive single-figure scores in the Ashes with a battling 61 at Headingley, standing defiant alongside fellow half-centurion Marnus Labuschagne (74) as the tourists subsided to 179 all out.

Jofra Archer starred once again for England, returning figures of 6-45 – including the pivotal wicket of Warner, who edged a lifter behind when the score was 136-2.

Resistance was negligible from that point on as Archer and England made the most of helpful conditions on a gloomy Leeds evening, but Warner could at least reflect on a personal battle won.

"It's been challenging but coming into it mentally I felt like I was in form. I've had three balls where I probably couldn't have done anything with them," he told a post-match news conference, having played and missed frequently against his series nemesis Stuart Broad. "I've worked my backside off in the nets as well.

"Today was about trying to negate that good ball and not get out to it. I had a lot of luck, I played and missed quite a lot but I kept my bat nice and tight.

"I was very pleased with the way I adjusted very well. I moved across a little bit more so my bat was covering that off stump."

Warner and Labuschagne added 111 from 138 balls as England's discipline deserted them in the first hour of an elongated final session and there was no danger of the former's natural aggression being cast aside after a few holes with Ponting.

"Going out on the golf course with Ricky was great, it's always good to have my mate around and just let your hair down," he said. "He was all about making sure I'm still backing my gameplan, looking to get forward and looking to hit the ball.

"I know when I'm looking to hit the ball my defence takes care of itself and I'm compact. I was fortunate enough that it came off. Obviously, you get another good ball there but can't do anything about it."

As he did when playing as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith at Lord's, Labuschagne raised his bat in the absence of Australia's talisman in their middle order.

Warner feels his team-mate's time in the County Championship with Glamorgan this season is paying dividends.

"I thought he was outstanding, his discipline was outstanding," Warner added. "Him coming over here and playing that stint of county cricket, scoring some runs and knowing where his off stump is, I know he has worked really hard on that.

"He has a lot of fight in him. We talked our way through our innings out there, we rebounded a lot of positive comments and he kept telling me about being disciplined and making sure I’m holding my shape, which was great getting reassurance from a youngster."

England's bid to level the Ashes at Headingley was hampered by rain and bad light at Headingley as Australia's batsmen faced just 18 overs in the first two sessions of the third Test.

The hosts, 1-0 down in the five-match series, had inserted their opponents under gloomy skies after winning the toss in Leeds, yet play was delayed for 80 minutes due to showers, and only four overs were possible before the inclement weather returned.

During that time, however, Jofra Archer made the early breakthrough by drawing the edge of the recalled Marcus Harris (8), whose opening partner David Warner lived a charmed life, particularly against the impressive Stuart Broad.

Play resumed again at 14:00 local time (13:00 GMT) and Broad eventually got his reward, Usman Khawaja (8) given out following England's review when his bat brushed the ball en route to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow's gloves.

The players were forced off once more due to further rain and only 3.1 overs had been bowled when proceedings were halted again, this time due to bad light.

Warner, who was unbeaten on 26 having been out for single figures in each of his previous four innings in the series, appeared only too happy to depart, though England's players were less impressed as he and Marnus Labuschagne (7 not out) walked off while the umpires checked the light.

The latest interruption meant tea was taken at 16:10 on a frustrating opening day.

Tim Paine expects to see "the very best David Warner" in the third Ashes Test, believing the opener will thrive with the responsibility that comes with Steve Smith's absence.

Australia star Warner has endured a dismal series so far in England as he returns to Test cricket following a 12-month ban for his role in the team's ball-tampering scandal.

The 32-year-old has made just two, eight, three and five in his four Ashes innings as Smith, who was also suspended for a year, has done the heavy lifting to give the tourists a 1-0 series lead.

But Smith will be missing at Headingley this week due to the concussion suffered when he took a Jofra Archer bouncer to the neck in the second match at Lord's.

Warner, a senior figure, is among those under pressure to step up, and captain Paine foresees him doing exactly that.

"I'm very confident [Warner will return to form]," Paine said. "I've spoken a lot about the fact he averages close to 50 in Test cricket [46.9] and he's done that over a long period of time.

"I think with Steve missing this game, it might be the little poke and prod that Davey needs. He likes that responsibility.

"And my experience with Davey is that, when people doubt him and his back is against the wall, he comes out swinging. I'm expecting the very best David Warner this week."

Australia were dealt a huge Ashes blow on Tuesday when Steve Smith was ruled out of the third Test at Headingley.

Smith has been in quite incredible form in England, with knocks of 144 and 142 at Edgbaston as the tourists took a 1-0 lead, before following up with 92 at Lord's.

But with Smith suffering a concussion at the Home of Cricket, Australia could only battle bravely to a draw and the series remains tantalisingly in the balance.

Smith is not fit to feature in Leeds and England will understandably be eager to take on a batting order missing its brightest star.

Who could step up for Australia and prove they are not a one-man show? We take a look.

 

DAVID WARNER

Warner, like Smith, is playing Test cricket for the first time since a 12-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

But unlike Smith, the former vice-captain has performed dismally, failing to rediscover the form that made him one of the world's best openers.

The 32-year-old has a career Test average of 46.9, but he has yet to manage double-figures across four innings in this series.

Hugely underwhelming efforts of two, eight, three and five have seen him depart three times to Stuart Broad, before Jofra Archer got him on day five at Lord's.

Without the security of Smith at number four, Warner simply must be better.

 

CAMERON BANCROFT

It says much for Smith's sensational form that Australia lead the series, away from home, despite neither of their openers firing.

Warner has been dismal with the bat, but Bancroft - another back in the Test fold following suspension - has fared little better.

Bancroft has a far more modest reputation than Warner, but he has the talent to perform at a far higher level than he has shown in the past two matches.

The 26-year-old was in excellent form for Durham while his team-mates were in Cricket World Cup action, yet that has not translated to the Test scene.

Knocks of 13 and 16 at Lord's were poor and yet considerable improvements on eight and seven at Edgbaston.

 

TIM PAINE

Paine might be the captain in name, but his leadership qualities have been questioned with Smith, the former skipper, back in the mix.

However, with Smith out, Paine must step up in more ways than one. Leading by example with the bat would certainly be a good start.

While Smith has been smashing centuries, Paine has mustered just 66 in total across four knocks.

His poorest total of all so far (four in the second innings at Lord's) came when Australia needed their captain most, digging in to reach the end of the day - even if Joe Denly took a remarkable catch.

There will be more pressure in the third Test, where England will have their tails up, and Paine must step up this time.

 

SOMEONE ELSE...

It was Smith's direct replacement Marnus Labuschagne, the concussion substitute, who stepped up in his absence at Lord's, contributing a vital 100-ball 59.

Labuschagne will surely get the opportunity to impress again in Leeds, but Australia really should have enough batting talent in their ranks without needing to call on a deputy.

Usman Khawaja (career average 41.4) has made 13, 40, 36 and two. Travis Head (49.9) has been slightly better with 35, 51, seven and a brave unbeaten 42. Both could improve.

Matthew Wade's series has been ludicrously inconsistent: one, 110, six and one. More single-figures will be damaging next time out.

There are plenty of men capable of stepping into the void, but that might be easier said than done when Smith is gone and Jofra Archer is hitting his stride.

Steve Waugh says Australia must stand by opener Cameron Bancroft "for the long term" despite his tough start to the Ashes.

Bancroft's first three knocks of the series in England have returned eight, seven and 13, while he was the victim of Jofra Archer's maiden Test wicket at Lord's on Friday.

Fellow opener David Warner has also struggled so far, contributing two, eight and three, even though Australia thrashed England in the first match at Edgbaston.

Bancroft, Warner and star man Steve Smith - who made two centuries in Birmingham - are all playing Test cricket for the first time since bans for their role in the team's ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

It is Bancroft, 26, whose position is being questioned at this stage, but Waugh, the team's mentor, is preaching faith in the Durham captain.

"I thought Bancroft hung in there pretty well," Waugh said after Australia ended a rain-affected third day on 80-4 in their first innings, 178 runs behind.

"He just needed to spend another half-hour there, get a few more balls away out of the middle and he would have been right.

"It's a fine line. You can analyse and scrutinise players but that's Test match cricket. Sometimes you are going to miss out. If you pick a guy, you back him for the long term and, right now, we are confident those guys are going to bounce back.

"[Bancroft and Warner] both want to get a lot more runs obviously, but Test match cricket is tough. It's challenging and the conditions over here are not easy for batting.

"It's not as if the ball is coming on and you can play a big cover drive. You have to work really hard for every run.

"And both bowling attacks are world class. You are up against some really quality bowlers who have taken a lot of wickets, have a lot of experience and a lot of know-how, and you've got to work hard for your runs."

In a further defence of Bancroft, Waugh added: "Cameron's preparation for this Test was excellent. He looked really good in the nets and he's pretty relaxed at the moment.

"He'd like some more runs but I am backing him to do well. He's a thoroughly professional cricketer, a nice, decent guy who works hard at his game.

"He's dedicated and he's disappointed he missed out, but he's the sort of cricketer who's tough and he'll come back."

Tim Paine backed Nathan Lyon to keep bowling "as long as he wants to" after his star showing on day five of Australia's victory over England in the opening Ashes Test.

Steve Smith's second century of the match and three figures from Matthew Wade on Sunday meant England needed to bat out the day on Monday to avoid defeat at Edgbaston.

But the day-five conditions were perfect for a spinner of Lyon's quality and he took 6-49 to help dismiss the hosts for just 146.

In the process, Lyon became just the fourth Australian to rack up 350 Test wickets and captain Paine waxed lyrical about his quality.

"He could get plenty [of wickets] for as long as he wants to go for I reckon, he doesn't seem to have too many injuries or niggles over his career," he said. 

"The ball is coming out better than ever, he's a bit like Smithy [Steve Smith], every Test match or series they seem to get better – it's astonishing at their age. 

"If you see them train you see why, they're a great example to the group."

Steve Smith and David Warner were playing their first Test since their respective involvements in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal that shocked cricket last year.

And Paine welcomed having the experienced duo back in the dressing room.

"Yeah it certainly helps. As I said before the game those guys have played a lot more cricket in England than I have and more big tournaments and big series than I have," he added. 

"The same goes for all of our team, it's not only helping me with way they lead our group. We're all tapping into them whether captain, coach or batting coach.

"They have things they've learnt through experience that others don't know. We'd be foolish not to tap into that, they've still got a huge presence in our dressing room there's no doubt about that."

David Warner joined in the Ashes fun at Edgbaston after England fans goaded the Australia opener over his ball-tampering suspension.

Former captain Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft and Warner are playing their first Test since being banned for their part in a plot to use sandpaper to alter the state of the ball in a match against South Africa in Cape Town last year.

Warner has long been a target for supporter ire in this famous old rivalry and when he was sent to field in front of the Hollies Stand during England's innings on Saturday, he was serenaded with choruses of "he's got sandpaper in his hands!".

The 32-year-old responded by holding out his empty palms, earning applause from the locals, before continuing the merriment by turning out his pockets.

England were dismissed for 374 to bring tea on the third day, the hosts boasting a lead of 90 that Warner and Bancroft will aim to make inroads into after their first-innings failures.

Stuart Broad claimed two wickets before Australia recovered from a shaky start to reach 83-3 on the first morning of the Ashes.

Touring captain Tim Paine won the toss and opted to bat in the opening Test at Edgbaston, but his side were soon in trouble as the vastly experienced new-ball pairing of Broad and James Anderson started superbly, extracting seam movement to regularly beat the bat.

Broad, bowling notably fuller and posing a continued threat, removed openers David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for two and eight respectively in a superb first spell.

Australia also lost Usman Khawaja to Chris Woakes prior to lunch, but Steve Smith (23 not out) held firm in his first Test innings since he was suspended for his role in last year's ball-tampering scandal and Travis Head provided some much-needed impetus in reaching 26 not out.

Anderson - a fitness doubt ahead of this match - did not bowl again in the morning after an opening four-over burst that yielded figures of 0-1. He briefly left the field after that spell, although it was not clear whether his lack of overs prior to lunch was due to an injury scare or cautious management of the 37-year-old's workload.

Warner's brief innings was certainly not short of incident. Firstly, he was given a life on one when an edge down the leg side off Broad went unnoticed and England failed to call for a review.

In Broad's next over, England wasted a review after umpire Aleem Dar correctly turned down an lbw appeal. Broad did trap Warner in front four balls later, but replays showed the full-pitched delivery would have missed leg stump, meaning the batsman should have sent the decision upstairs.

Warner's dismissal was predictably greeted with jubilation by sandpaper-waving fans eager to remind the opener of his Cape Town ball-tampering shame.

Bancroft, representing Australia for the first time since that saga, soon became a second victim for Broad, edging to Joe Root at first slip having been squared up by one that left him.

A successful review from England then accounted for Khawaja, who got the faintest of edges to a Woakes delivery.

However, Smith would not be shifted and Head, after beginning his innings with 15 dot balls, scored freely to lift the pressure on Australia, who opted to leave out Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on a day when showers were forecast in the afternoon.

David Warner will be fit to open the batting for Australia against England in the first Ashes Test, coach Justin Langer has said.

There was concern on Monday when Warner needed medical treatment after inside-edging a delivery from Michael Neser onto his thigh.

However, the 32-year-old was back in the nets on Tuesday and Langer confirmed that Warner will feature when the opening Test begins at Edgbaston on Thursday. 

"He's fine," Langer told a news conference.

"He would not miss this for anything in the world, I reckon. He can't wait. He's that excited [for an] an Ashes Test match. 

"Steve Waugh's in the changing room so a few little bruises every now and again...there's no way he's not walking out to bat.

"Tugga would probably kick him out the door, I reckon. He's fine.

"He got a little bruise [from being] hit on the leg yesterday, he's a bit stiff this morning but he will be 100 per cent ready to go."

England and Australia will spend the next seven weeks as fierce rivals with the Ashes on the line.

The return from suspension of three Australia star batsmen means the visitors are back up to full strength as they chase a first Test series win in England for 18 years.

The triumphant 2001 side was loaded with all-time greats including Steve and Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist.

Few of the England team of the day would have earned a place in Australia's side, such was the absurd strength of the tourists' squad.

However, the gap has closed considerably in the years since, and merging the teams for a combined Ashes XI in 2019 would test the judgment of any selector.

Here is a look at how such a team might look, with grovelling apologies to the strong contenders who missed the cut.


Cameron Bancroft (Australia)

Edgbaston will have a welcome waiting for the man who used sandpaper to tamper with the ball during Australia's Test with South Africa at Newlands last year. Bancroft has the runs for Durham this year to justify his return to Australia's ranks on form, even if many might feel uneasy about his presence after serving a nine-month ban. It could be touch and go whether he opens or bats in the middle order, but he gets the nod for this XI on the basis of England being in an opener crisis.

David Warner (Australia)

The brains behind the Newlands plot is also back in the Test arena. Warner is a mighty batsman, and nobody would question his ability. He comes into the Ashes off a fine World Cup performance, and his wicket will be a prized one within the England ranks. Described in one newspaper verdict of sandpapergate as "the most hated man in cricket", Warner is the man the home crowds would love to see fail, even if privately they would happily have him on their side.

Steve Smith (Australia)

Culled as captain, and banned along with Warner for a year, Smith did nothing to prevent Bancroft and Warner's actions and he will be braced for a barrage of flak during the Ashes. He has the batting chops and the temperament to handle sledging from the stands, however. Smith is the finest middle-order batsman of his generation, a rock of Australia's team and, past mistakes notwithstanding, a de facto leader.

Joe Root (England, captain)

If questions are asked of England's batting line-up, England's skipper usually finds an answer. He may need to provide the glue to bond together several unstable innings over the coming weeks, and there are few more accomplished anchor batsmen in world cricket. His team are the bookmakers' favourites to take the urn, with Root's contribution expected to be pivotal.

Jonny Bairstow (England)

A galvanising force behind England's glorious World Cup campaign, Bairstow has produced worrisome form in the longest format and went for a pair against Ireland. He averages 25.83 in 10 Tests over the past 12 months, dragging down his overall batting average. The Ashes might bring the best out of the Yorkshireman.

Ben Stokes (England)

Stokes will hope to enjoy August 2019 more than August 2018, when he faced the stress of a crown court trial on a charge of affray. Stokes cleared his name and has moved on, reinstated for the Ashes as England's vice-captain and hailed a national hero after his World Cup exploits. Many have crumbled in the face of comparisons to Ian Botham but Stokes thrives on the all-rounder role and could far surpass Beefy's achievements before his career is out. A man who seems made for an Ashes series.

Jos Buttler (England, wicketkeeper)

Tim Paine captains Australia, as well as keeping wicket, because in both senses he is considered a safe pair of hands. But Buttler gets the stumps role here, his explosive batting a tremendous complement to his skill with the gloves. Buttler has come on as a Test cricketer in the last year, as well as being a key component of the white-ball team that many expect him to captain before long. He gives back the Test vice-captaincy to Stokes for this series, but is unlikely to mind.

Pat Cummins (Australia)

Rated by the ICC as the world's number one bowler, Cummins has taken wickets at a prolific rate over the past couple of years. He would earn his place on that basis alone, but Cummins can bat too and made three scores in the forties in the last Ashes series. Years of injury woe are behind him, with the tall paceman capable of wreaking havoc in this series.

Jofra Archer (England)

Here's the wild card. Archer is launching his Test career in the Ashes but has already demonstrated he is a swimmer when tossed in at the deep end. The Barbados-born fast bowler enjoyed a terrific World Cup, defying a painful side strain to emerge as a star of the tournament. The 24-year-old looks like the man England have been waiting for, as the established Anderson-Broad axis enters its twilight days. He should thrive, and play in many of these series.

Nathan Lyon (Australia)

England have worries in the spin department when it comes to Tests, with neither Moeen Ali nor Adil Rashid establishing themselves as reliable wicket-taking slow bowlers at this level. Lyon's average is comfortably better than both England men, and with 86 Tests behind him the one-time Adelaide Oval groundsman has come a long way in the game. He has pouched 343 Test wickets and, regardless of conditions that should favour the seamers, will fancy taking more victims on this tour. A shoo-in for an Ashes dream team.

James Anderson (England)

This will be an Ashes farewell, surely, for Anderson. Few would doubt his capacity to go out in style, with the 37-year-old bidding to add to 575 Test wickets, 104 of which have accounted for Australians. He has succeeded McGrath as the preeminent paceman in the ongoing story of the Ashes, with few seamers capable of matching the craft of the man from Burnley. A late-summer Ashes, after the British heatwave, with plenty of cloud cover likely, could have been designed for Anderson.

Australia opener David Warner eased fears over his thigh injury by batting in the nets on Tuesday ahead of the first Ashes Test.

Warner required treatment on Monday having inside-edged a delivery from seamer Michael Neser onto his left thigh.

Coach Justin Langer said the 32-year-old was "fine" after the session, and he was back facing deliveries in Birmingham the following day.

Warner has not played a Test since March 2018 due to his suspension following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

However, is expected to be pivotal to Australia's fortunes as they try and win an Ashes series in England for the first time since 2001.

Returning Australia Test stars Steve Smith and David Warner can silence critics in the England crowd by starting strongly in the Ashes, says former star Glenn McGrath.

Smith and Warner are set to play in the longest format this week for the first time since they served bans for their roles in a ball-tampering fiasco in South Africa last year.

The pair endured some light jibing from supporters during the Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, but it is anticipated Test returns at Edgbaston might see a harsher welcome.

McGrath believes the best way for Smith and Warner to respond will be to make a fast start in Birmingham on Thursday.

"I think they are professional and they're both two quality players, both fairly mentally tough as well," McGrath said of the duo.

"It's important to get off to a good start. If they get off to a good start, start scoring runs and answer with the bat, then they'll be fine.

"They've got a little bit of a taste of it during the World Cup - I think, in a couple of matches against England, the crowd let them know what was coming up - so they'll be expecting it.

"But if they go out there and score runs, it'll make it better for them."

Warner sustained a bruise to his left thigh on Monday, but England also have fitness concerns, with James Anderson facing a race to be fit for the opener.

And McGrath sees Anderson as key to home hopes in the upcoming series.

"I think [seam] will have an impact, there's no doubt about that," he said. "Jimmy Anderson has got so much experience.

"I think he's played 148 Tests, about 575 wickets, I think I saw the other day, which is absolutely incredible. And when the conditions suit him, with that Dukes ball, he's better than anyone on the planet.

"The Australian batsmen have to adapt to that and get on top of him. And the Australian bowlers have to adjust and adapt to bowling different lengths here to what they do back home.

"It will have a big impact and the Dukes cricket ball just feels so good in the hand - big seam and happy days."

David Warner suffered a bruised thigh in training on Monday, dealing Australia a potential blow ahead of their Ashes opener.

The tourists were preparing on the Edgbaston pitch before the first Test against England, which starts on Thursday, when Warner inside-edged a ball from Michael Neser into his left thigh.

He was pictured receiving attention from medical staff and was required to treat the injury with ice.

Warner is set to be a key man for Australia in this series, the opener playing Test cricket again for the first time since the fateful tour of South Africa last year.

Vice-captain at the time, Warner - along with then-skipper Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft - were each banned for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal.

The trio are all in the Australia Ashes squad, together for the first time since serving their suspensions, as Australia look to retain the urn.

 

England, meanwhile, were boosted by James Anderson being able to bowl on Monday.

The leader of England's pace attack wore a compression sock on his right leg as he continues to recover from a calf injury sustained playing for Lancashire.

Jofra Archer is in line to make his Test bow having recovered from a side strain, an injury he played with during England's successful World Cup campaign.

Australia chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns has praised Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft for earning their Ashes places on merit.

Former captain Smith, Warner and Bancroft are all part of the 17-man party for the five-Test series against England after serving bans for their part in the ball-tampering scandal that engulfed Australian cricket last year.

Warner and Smith featured throughout Australia's run to the World Cup semi-finals, where they lost to eventual winners England, whereas Bancroft has the opportunity to represent his country for the first time since his nine-month suspension.

The opening batsman impressed in English conditions with Durham this season, scoring two centuries and three fifties as part of an average of 45.37 in County Championship Division Two, while his 93 in Australia's warm-up match this week also decisively caught Hohns' eye.

"David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances," he said.

"David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level, while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season. His innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality."

Bancroft will contest a place at the top of the order for next week's series opener at Edgbaston, with Joe Burns omitted despite scoring 180 in Australia's previous Test against Sri Lanka, but the tourists' true strength comes in the seam-bowling department.

Pat Cummins tops the Test rankings, while Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood are joined by James Pattinson and Peter Siddle.

Ashes veteran Siddle's maiden tour of England came a decade ago, while his Victoria colleague Pattinson is back in the Test fold for the first time since 2016 – persistent injury woes forcing the paceman to undergo back surgery a year later.

"James Pattinson has demanded inclusion after impressing everyone on the Australia A tour with his pace and control, following on from a good season at home for Victoria," Hohns said.

The focus on pace comes at the expense of spin specialists, with Nathan Lyon the lone representative in that regard, although Hohns expects middle-order batsman Marnus Labuschagne to pick up some of the slack if required.

"We have faith in [Lyon's] ability, we know our strength lies in our pace attack and we have Marnus Labuschagne's leg spin as another spin option," Hohns said.

"He has bowled almost 200 overs for county side Glamorgan in first-class cricket this season."

Hohns added: "We have not won an Ashes series in the United Kingdom since 2001 but we are confident that this group of players can break that cycle and ensure we retain the urn that we won at home in the summer of 2017-18."

Cameron Bancroft has been recalled to Australia's squad for the Ashes series against England.

It is the opening batsman's first selection for international duty since serving a nine-month ban for his part in last year's ball-tampering scandal.

Bancroft impressed with 93 in the tourists' warm-up outing at Southampton on Thursday – a match-winning knock that ultimately sealed his place.

He features alongside David Warner and former captain Steve Smith, with all three taking part in their first Test tour since their actions against South Africa in Cape Town placed their careers at the highest level on hiatus.

Their inclusions mean there is no place for Joe Burns or Kurtis Patterson, despite both men scoring centuries in Australia's previous Test outing against Sri Lanka in Canberra, although Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh are back.

A strong seam bowling department is bolstered by recalls for James Pattinson and Ashes veteran Peter Siddle.

Injury-plagued paceman Pattinson last played in the longest format in February 2016 and will in part fill the void left by Jhye Richardson being ruled out with a dislocated shoulder.

Seam bowling all-rounder Michael Neser is the only uncapped player in the party, with Nathan Lyon the lone spinner for a series where conditions are expected to favour seam.

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