Mitchell Starc dropped out of Australia's team for the final Ashes Test, with Tim Paine's visitors making two changes.

Australia arrived at The Oval with the Ashes already secure following their 185-run victory at Old Trafford, which gave them a 2-1 series lead.

Having impressed in tour matches, Starc came into the line-up in Manchester, replacing James Pattinson.

However, the 29-year-old paceman - who scored an unbeaten 54 in the fourth Test and took four wickets - did not made the cut for the match that began in London on Thursday, with Australia selecting Peter Siddle instead.

The other change to Australia's side saw Mitchell Marsh replace Travis Head, a switch Paine had revealed in his pre-match news conference on Wednesday.

Paine won the toss on Thursday, electing to bowl first.

Australia team for final Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain, wk), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Mitchell Marsh has been preferred to vice-captain Travis Head in the only change to Australia's squad for the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

All-rounder Marsh will make his first appearance of the series against England as the tourists strive to win the series after going 2-1 up to retain the urn at Old Trafford last weekend.

Batsman Head has made just one half-century in the series and captain Tim Paine says Marsh was selected to ease the bowlers' workload.

"Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we've kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them.

"It was a really tough call on Travis Head, who's had a great start to his Test career but we wanted a bit more bowling depth in the squad to cover what looks like a really good wicket and to be able to look after our big, fast bowlers.

"Mitchell Marsh has also had a couple of hundreds in Test cricket so we've got full faith in him doing the job with the bat as well."

Paine added: "The reason Travis isn't playing is because we felt like we needed a little bit of extra bowling at the end of a long series.

"Mitch Marsh is our all-rounder and like we have with our bowlers, it's not necessarily Travis being dropped.

"We've been really clear with Travis on why he's not playing this game. He's had a fantastic start [to his Test career], he's played nine or 10 Tests and has got a very healthy average but we want to get the make up right to win this Test match.

"Unfortunately we had to make a really tough call on someone and it happened to be Travis. He's a huge part of Australian cricket future, he's a gun young player and he's getting better all the time.

"It's disappointing for him he's not playing in this Test match. He'd dearly love to, obviously, but we'll go back to Australia, conditions will be different. There's no doubt he's in the top six or seven batsmen in our country."

England replaced Jason Roy and Craig Overton with Sam Curran and Chris Woakes for the fifth Test, which starts on Thursday.


Australia squad for fifth Ashes Test: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.

Australia sought to hammer home their advantage in the third Test on Friday after England were skittled for 67 to leave their hopes of retaining the urn virtually extinguished.

England arrived at Headingley hoping to make hay in the sunshine but their latest batting collapse inside 28 overs left them with a 112-run first-innings deficit, with the tourists reaching tea at 82-3 and extending their lead to 194.

Joe Root's team had been 54-6 at lunch and lost their remaining four wickets within 23 balls of the second session in posting their lowest ever total at Headingley, and their lowest in the Ashes in 71 years, as Josh Hazlewood returned 5-30.

Wickets continued to fall during Australia's second innings but England's flagging attack were only able to do so much as Marnus Labuschagne (13 not out) and Travis Head (17 not out) came off with a insurmountable target firmly in their sights.

Having entered lunch in such a perilous position, England's tail was unable to wag and Chris Woakes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Jack Leach all departed for single figures to leave Joe Denly's 12 as the top score in a woeful total.

It was the fourth time since the start of 2018 that England were dismissed for 85 or less, though the mood briefly changed when Australia opener David Warner was struck on the pads by Stuart Broad to depart without score.

Marcus Harris (19) continued the head-scratching approach to batting when clean bowled attempting to drive Jack Leach's first delivery.

Usman Khawaja (23) had no control over a shot to Woakes that was caught by Jason Roy in the slips, but Labuschange and Head reached tea without too much trouble and Australia firmly on top.

Travis Head says there is "definitely a chance" Steve Smith will feature in the third Ashes Test at Headingley as he is looking "a lot better".

The influential Smith retired hurt in the first innings of the second match at Lord's having been struck on the neck by a bouncer from paceman Jofra Archer, only to return later that day.

However, Smith did not take part at all on day five after suffering with delayed concussion and his status for the contest in Leeds, which starts on Thursday, remains unclear.

Concussion protocol will see Smith closely monitored, yet Australia colleague Head is encouraged by the star batsman's improvement in recent days.

Although Head acknowledged "it will probably be taken out of Steve's hands", he believes his team-mate is recovering in good time.

"There's definitely a chance [of Smith playing]. He's feeling better day by day," Head told talkSPORT. "I know he was a lot better yesterday.

"He'll have a run around and a light training session [on Tuesday] and that's key. It's not about overloading over these next couple of days. We're keeping him fresh, giving him the best opportunity to play.

"He doesn't really need a lot of time in the nets. He'll want to, but it's about making sure he's fresh, his mind, brain and everything is fresh. He's got no more signs of that concussion.

"He's ready to go, he doesn't need any extra preparation. He's been batting beautifully and playing beautifully.

"I'm sure he doesn't need to do anything over the next couple of days, he can walk straight out and play and get the same results hopefully. Fingers crossed."

Smith's role in the Australia ball-tampering scandal last year, for which he served a 12-month ban, has seen him jeered by English fans throughout the series so far.

Head felt the crowd was largely supportive at Lord's and suggested the way the former Test captain has responded to adversity shows him to be among the very best.

"He showed over the last two weeks how classy he is," Head said of Smith.

"The booing and whatnot, there wasn't a lot of it at Lord's. The Lord's crowd was fantastic throughout the week. There were little bits and pieces of it.

"I think the way he went about it showed great character. The way he's played over the last two weeks has been fantastic, under high pressure - high pressure from himself, the importance he puts on himself.

"I think he's one of the best that has probably played the game and he's showing that at the moment."

Travis Head hailed Steve Smith as "one of the best players of spin in the world" as the England selectors reportedly ponder picking Jack Leach for the second Ashes Test at Lord's.

Smith scored magnificent centuries in both innings in the opening match of the series at Edgbaston, inspiring Australia to a 251-run victory.

The former captain was outstanding in his first Test since serving a one-year ban for his part in the ball-tampering scandal, making the England bowlers suffer following a great start in Birmingham.

Jofra Archer looks set to replace the injured James Anderson, while Leach could get the nod with Moeen Ali out of sorts with bat and ball.

Head, who made a half-century in the second innings and 35 in the first, says Smith will not be concerned about the prospect of facing Leach, despite not having such a great record against left-arm tweakers.

"He's one of the best players of spin in the world," Head said.

He added: "He's fantastic to bat with. He sucks the momentum out of the opposition and the way he batted in this game, it was nice to be at the other end with him.

"It's nice, I feel like I can get in a nice rhythm with him at the other end. You know he's not going anywhere - but I pride myself on making a contribution and trying to have really good partnerships.

"He's obviously in great form so it's nice to be at the other end and he obviously takes a bit of pressure off myself. They are trying to think of some plans to stop him so I was able to go a little bit under the radar, which was nice.

"So hopefully [there will be] a little bit more batting to do in the next four Tests with him."

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.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.