Mitchell Starc is not putting his hand up for a rest ahead of the day-night fifth Ashes Test despite being Australia's only fast bowler to play all four matches this series.

Australia and England will resume hostilities in the final Ashes Test starting on Friday in Hobart with the hosts 3-0 up after the Sydney Test ended as a draw on Sunday.

Starc has impressed during this series with 15 wickets from four matches, behind only spinner Nathan Lyon (16), at an average of 26.6. He has also been commendable with the bat, contributing 151 runs at 75.5.

Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are in contention after unluckily losing their spots following good displays in the second Test in Adelaide while Scott Boland is likely to be available despite hurting his ribs in Sydney, but Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out due to his ongoing side injury.

Left-armer Starc has bowled the most overs of any quick in the series, clocking up 134.1 overs but brushed aside speculation of a rest.

"It's purely up to the selectors. I'm not looking for a break," Starc told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's the last Test match of an Ashes series at home. It's the pink ball too. I'd very much like to play.

"It's in the hands of the selectors. I won't be asking for a rest."

Starc's ability to swing the pink ball makes him an enticing prospect for the day-night Test, which will be the first ever played in Hobart.

The 31-year-old paceman took 37-4 and 43-2 across both innings with the pink ball in the day-night Adelaide Test last month.

"I think we saw in Adelaide the pink ball didn’t swing anywhere near as much as we've seen in the past," Starc said.

"It's likely going to be very different in Hobart. I've not played with a pink ball here. We'll have to have a look at the wicket and see what that's like. There's a number of factors [on selection].

"We'll be trying to carry on the plan of attack that we had in Adelaide and hopefully that's a positive result for us here this week."

Victorian debutant Scott Boland produced the spell of a lifetime as Australia secured an Ashes series victory with an emphatic triumph over England in the third Test at the MCG on Tuesday.

England were skittled for a feeble 68 as Australia clinched an unassailable 3-0 series lead with victory by an innings and 14 runs inside two days and one session.

Player of the Match Boland was the story of the third day, claiming four wickets in 11 deliveries including England skipper Joe Root to finish with remarkable second-innings figures of 7-6 from four overs.

Root offered the only resistance with 28, after the visitors resumed at 31-4 but wilted against a hungry Australian attack.

Mitchell Starc (29-3) got the first breakthrough of Ben Stokes bowled for 11, before Boland took over as England lost their final five wickets for eight runs.

Boland first trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for 5, despite a review, after he was dropped at gully by Cameron Green.

The debutant proceeded to claim the key wicket of Root caught by David Warner at first slip, before dismissing Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson for ducks.

Green claimed the final wicket to secure the series victory, clean bowling Jimmy Anderson to bowl England out for 68, their ninth lowest total in Ashes history.

England lasted only 15.4 overs on the third day, with the game being the shortest completed Test match hosted by Australia in 70 years, lasting 1084 balls.

Australia took four late wickets amid a devastating spell with the ball to grab a stronghold on their way to sealing the Ashes after England had fought back on day two of the third Test at the MCG.

Mitchell Starc claimed the scalps of Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan in successive balls before Victorian debutant Scott Boland had Haseeb Hameed caught behind and bowled Jack Leach to leave the visitors reeling.

England were 31-4 at stumps, trailing by 51 runs as Australia, who lead the series 2-0, look to clinch the Ashes in Melbourne. Joe Root (12*) and Ben Stokes (2*) will resume at the crease on day three.

The visitors had rallied to keep the Boxing Day Test alive, having dismissed Australia for 267 led by veteran James Anderson with 4-33.

All this after drama forced the resumption of play to be delayed after a coronavirus scare within the England camp, before all the players were cleared for an 11am local start.

Australia had resumed at 61-1 after England were all out for 185 on the first day. Marcus Harris resumed at the crease and top scored with 76 on his home deck.

England had made good inroads into the Australia batting order at 110-4, dismissing number one Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne for 1 and vice-captain Steve Smith for 16 from Chris Wood (71-2) and Anderson respectively.

Harris was the only Australian to score more than 40, with Travis Head (27) getting a start before falling to Ollie Robinson (64-2), who had a hamstring scare but played on.

England appeared set for a nominal first-innings deficit before a late cameo from Starc (24*) and captain Pat Cummins (21) opened up an 82-run lead.

However, Australia turned the game in a stunning final 45 minutes with Cummins almost having Crawley caught behind for a duck when Alex Carey botched a chance, before the English opener went in the next over to Starc (11-2).

Starc trapped Malan lbw next ball despite a review, before Boland was introduced to the attack, having Hameed caught by Carey before clean bowling Leach two balls later.

Starc misses rare Boxing Day hat-trick

Starc almost claimed the first Boxing Day Test Ashes hat-trick since Shane Warne in 1994 when he dismissed Crawley and Malan in successive deliveries. England skipper Root survived a close call on the hat-trick ball which had the MCG crowd on their feet as it whizzed past the bat.

Local hero fires up crowd

Local debutant Boland only managed one wicket in the first innings but received great support from his home crowd during his brief batting innings before a double strike with his only over after being thrown the ball late in the day.

Jonny Bairstow said England would face a "huge morning session" on day two of the third Test after Australia got off to a flying start in Melbourne.

Armed with a 2-0 series lead and needing only a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, Australia bowled out England for 185 and then raced to 61-1 at stumps.

The game could yet turn, but England cannot afford to allow Australia to build a big lead, after the one-sided nature of the previous contests in Brisbane and Adelaide.

Captain Joe Root top-scored with 50 for England on Boxing Day, with Bairstow weighing in with 35, but the openers failed and tenacity was widely lacking as Australia picked up cheap wickets. Dawid Malan showed some grit but made just 14 runs, sharing in a stand of 48 with Root before becoming the third of Pat Cummins' three victims.

Root's innings gave him a ninth Test half-century in Australia, the most by a touring player in the country without having gone on to make a hundred.

Bairstow told the BBC's Test Match Special: "To lose the toss and get put in on a pitch that was doing plenty, I thought we grafted pretty well first up. Dawid and Joe put on another good partnership. We were really unfortunate to lose Dawid before lunch, otherwise that would have been a good session for us.

"We've seen there's a little more inconsistent bounce this evening. Marcus Harris got one on the glove and the following ball didn't carry through to the keeper. We'll be looking to exploit those areas in the morning; the morning session will be a huge session and let's see how we go."

Harris was left with a bleeding finger after being hit by a ball from Ben Stokes that bounced sharply. The Australia opener will resume alongside nightwatchman Nathan Lyon in the morning after James Anderson had David Warner caught for 38 by Zak Crawley shortly before the close.

Warner had been typically aggressive as he looked to compound England's misery, but a thick edge to Crawley at gully ended his assault.

"He was always looking to put pressure back on our bowlers. That's how he plays," Bairstow said. "He's scored runs in this series and previously, so it was a big boost to pick him up just before the end, and we'll come back in the morning, all guns blazing and ready to go."

Australia did not let Warner's wicket dampen their enjoyment of the day.

Captain Cummins and spinner Lyon both returned figures of 3-36, while Cameron Green and debutant Scott Boland chipped in with a wicket apiece.

Mitchell Starc removed Root and Bairstow as he took 2-54, and the paceman said on BT Sport: "It was quite a bit tacky underfoot and the spikes didn't really grab until that last session, so there was maybe not the air speed from us all today, but I thought we still bowled really well.

"We probably bowled a fraction fuller than England in that first session for them, and Pat was fantastic to get those first wickets and get us under way.

"Collectively, [bowling England out for] 185 is a pretty good day for us today."

Boland said it had been "a very special day", as the 32-year-old Melburnian made his Test bow and had a wicket – dismissing Mark Wood lbw – and two catches to show for it.

Starc was full of praise, saying: "It was awesome, the big Victorian here at his home ground to get his cap. He said he was quite nervous under a couple of those catches, but to get his first wicket at his home ground on the day of his debut was fantastic to see, and I think that might just calm him down for the second innings."

Australia head coach Justin Langer backed Mitchell Starc to be fit for the Boxing Day Test, though it remains unclear whether Josh Hazlewood will feature.

Langer's side boast a 2-0 series lead after a nine-wicket demolition of Joe Root's tourists in the opening Test in Brisbane, in which Starc bowled opener Rory Burns with the first delivery of the Ashes, and a 275-run victory in Adelaide.

Starc managed match figures of 6-80 at the Adelaide Oval as Australia made it nine wins in day-night Test matches, the only side with a perfect 100 per cent winning record, in the absence of Pat Cummins and Hazlewood, who injured himself at the Gabba.

Cummins is expected to return in Melbourne after coming into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case last Wednesday, but Langer remained unsure on Hazlewood's fitness as he praised the work of left-armer Starc.

On Starc, Langer told reporters: "He should be fine. He's tough. If he's not right, then we'll look at it. But at this stage, there's no indication suggesting he won't be playing the next Test.

"I'd be very surprised if he doesn't get up for Boxing Day. We will wait and see how Hazlewood pulls up.

"I honestly thought Starc was almost the man of the match last game. He became the leader of the group.

"There's been a lot of talk about Mitch Starc for the last few years but he just keeps turning up. He's an unbelievable athlete and he's incredibly fit.

"His resilience to just keep coming up over and over and over again is remarkable really, and his consistency of length and the way he controlled the tempo of the game last game was a great credit to him, particularly with Patty (Cummins) and Hazlewood not playing."

Indeed, Starc has been the pick of fast bowlers in the series thus far, picking up nine wickets at an average of 21.33, with off-spinner Nathan Lyon the only other player to record as many dismissals (nine wickets at an average of 25). 

The hosts initially named an unchanged 15-man squad for the remainder of the Tests in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart but have added bowler Scott Boland to the group while the medical team continue to assess the fast-bowling group.

Langer has also confirmed Marcus Harris will open in the third Test, despite the left-handed batter managing just 38 runs across four innings, knowing Australia will retain the Ashes if they avoid defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Steve Smith felt Mitchell Starc bowled "as well as he has for a long time" after Australia cruised to a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

The hosts posted a mammoth first-innings declaration total of 473-9 at the Adelaide Oval after Smith had stepped up as stand-in captain, following new Test skipper Pat Cummins coming into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case last Wednesday.

England could only muster 236 in response, despite 80 and 62 from Dawid Malan and captain Joe Root respectively, with Starc taking 4-37 from his 16 overs – only Nathan Lyon went at a lower economy (2.07).

Australia were again able to declare in the second innings, setting England an improbable 468 to win, before tearing through the tourists to leave six wickets required for victory on the final day.

Jos Buttler battled hard during a 207-ball stint but fell in unusual circumstances as he trod on his stumps going back to Starc, before Jhye Richardson fittingly sealed victory to complete his maiden five-wicket Test haul by removing James Anderson.

While Richardson managed a final-innings 5-42, Smith reserved special praise for Starc – who boasted 7-80 after two wickets in the second innings.

"Mitchell Starc bowled as well as he has for a long time, he led this attack well," Smith told reporters at the post-match presentation.

"He summed it up quickly that there wasn't a great deal of swing so he just wanted to bash a good length and hit some good areas - he did that as well as he has in his career.

"He looked in really good rhythm and I'm incredibly proud of the way he went about his business."

Australia have now won each of their last nine pink-ball Test matches, the only side with a perfect 100 per cent winning record, while England are winless in their last four day-night fixtures since last defeating West Indies in August 2017.

Smith, who fell seven short of a century in the first innings, was captaining for the first time since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in Newlands and enjoyed his return to the helm, while hailing the performance of some England batters.

He added: "We weren't nervous. They showed some good resistance and fight. Jos played extremely well - it was an innings we haven't seen from him before, he's usually a bit of a dasher. He showed good fight, as well as [Chris] Woakes and [Ollie] Robinson.

"We felt there was time left and all it would take was a couple of good balls.

"I had fun this week as captain and did enjoy it. The guys played really well. We were able to control the game from the first day as Marnus [Labuschagne] and Davey [Warner] set it up with their partnership.

"So we were able to declare when we wanted and bowl where we wanted to bowl."

Jhye Richardson took 5-42 as Australia claimed a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

Australia headed into day five requiring just six wickets to take a 2-0 series lead, Joe Root's side batting only for a draw, given they needed an improbable 386 runs for victory.

Any chance of England escaping without defeat hinged on the shoulders of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, after the tourists' captain Joe Root fell to Mitchell Starc (2-43) on the final ball of day four.

Australia flew out of the blocks, Starc removing Ollie Pope – caught at slip by stand-in captain Steve Smith – and Nathan Lyon picking up the crucial wicket of Stokes, who was dismissed for a 77-ball 12.

Buttler and Chris Woakes then lived charmed lives, with the wicketkeeper edging Starc between a motionless Alex Carey and David Warner, while the right-arm all-rounder survived a caught-behind review from Lyon having not scored.

That England partnership lasted 31 overs before Woakes was bowled by Richardson, with Ollie Robinson following soon after as he was caught at slip by Smith off Lyon.

Stuart Broad successfully reviewed a leg before wicket decision to make it into the final session, but Buttler (26) fell in bizarre fashion, stepping on his own stumps after a 207-ball stint at the crease.

Richardson fittingly removed James Anderson, caught in the gully by Cameron Green, as England made it 12 Tests without a win in Australia (D1, L11); their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under (also 12 matches between January 1937 to February 1951).

England head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test needing a win to stand a chance of regaining the Ashes, while a draw would ensure Australia retain the urn yet again.

Buttler battles to no avail

Buttler, who before the Ashes insisted he would play with a carefree with "nothing to lose", battled against Australia almost single-handedly on Monday, but even his best efforts were not enough against a relentless Australia.

It was a mixed bag of a Test for the 31-year-old, who took some stunning catches, but also dropped some golden chances behind the stumps.

Contrasting fortunes under the lights

England's rear-guard almost masked multiple selection issues across the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, but what cannot be denied is Australia's magnificent pink-ball form.

The hosts have won all nine of their day-night Test matches, the most by any side and the only team with a 100 per cent record, while England have lost each of their last four games in the format – last winning against West Indies in August 2017. Richardson was the pick of the bunch for the hosts, sealing his five-for when he dismissed Anderson.

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Australian captain Pat Cummins has sensationally been ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England, deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive COVID-19 test.

The news comes on the morning of the first day of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval, with Queensland fast bowler Michael Neser confirmed to replace Cummins in the XI for his debut on Thursday.

Former skipper Steve Smith will captain Australia in the absence of Cummins in the day-night Test in Adelaide.

Cummins was dining at a restaurant on Tuesday and was sat nearby to someone who has since been confirmed as a positive coronavirus case.

The star paceman did not breach any biosecurity protocols and isolated as soon as he became aware of the situation. Cummins has since had a PCR test, which produced a negative result.

However, Cummins has been confirmed as a close contact by South Australia Health and will be required to isolate for seven days, ruling him out of the second showdown with rivals England.

Cricket Australia (CA) said it anticipated Cummins will be available to play in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG in Melbourne.

"Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide," CA said in a statement.

The 28-year-old fast bowler had led Australia to a nine-wicket victory in the Ashes opener as skipper in Brisbane, after taking over from Tim Paine.

Smith's deputising marks the first time he will have captained his country since the controversial 2018 sandpaper-gate Test match in Cape Town, which led to his dismissal as skipper and 12-month suspension.

Australia may have dodged a further bullet, revealing Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also dining at the same restaurant but at a separate table outdoors.

Both have been deemed casual contacts by SA Health and are free to play.

Mitchell Starc was surprised to see both James Anderson and Stuart Broad left out as England were skittled for 147 on the opening day of the Ashes.

Starc, whose selection for Australia came under some scrutiny, dismissed Rory Burns with the very first ball of the series at the Gabba on Wednesday, setting the tone for a dismal day for the tourists.

New captain Pat Cummins took 5-38 as Australia dominated, with bad light and rain preventing the hosts from starting their chase after tea.

On a green pitch in overcast conditions, Australia's bowling attack thrived, and it seemed the ideal situation in which Broad and Anderson, who have played 315 Tests between them, would have been at their best.

However, neither bowler was selected in the team for the first Test, so the tourists went into the match without pace bowlers who have collected a combined 1,156 Test wickets.

"I'm not sure if you told anyone a couple of days ago that was going to happen that they would have believed you," Starc, who finished with figures of 2-35, told reporters.

"To take 300 Test matches and 1,000 wickets out of their side is pretty interesting.

"I'm glad I don't have to pick any sides, let alone that one, or tap those two on the shoulder and let them know they're not playing."

Starc's comments might have rubbed salt into Joe Root's wounds - the England captain having elected to bat after winning the toss.

Ollie Pope was one of just two batsmen to make it above 30, along with Jos Buttler, and while conceding the odds are already stacked against England, he believes all is not lost.

"It was a disappointing start especially, so there was frustration that we haven't been able to put on the big score we wanted," Pope told a news conference.

"The pitch did offer a fair bit early, especially off the seam so we are frustrated as a unit. It's a long tour, a long series and we're going to keep the spirits high and come out fighting tomorrow.

"Looking at the wicket, it did offer today and wasn't the easiest to score on. You don't know with wickets until both teams have batted on them. I think this pitch gets quicker and keeps carrying.

"It was quite tacky so it made some dents in the middle of the wicket. It'll be interesting if that opens up. We've definitely got the skill set in our bowlers to drag it back and go big second dig."

Pat Cummins reflected on a "pretty crazy" first day as Australia's Test captain after his side dismantled England at the Gabba to start the Ashes in style.

Mitchell Starc bowled Rory Burns with the very first ball in Brisbane on Wednesday and the hosts went on to skittle England out for just 147 before rain and bad light stopped play.

Cummins, who replaced Tim Paine as captain following the wicketkeeper's resignation last month in the wake of a lewd texting scandal, led the way for Australia, taking 5-38.

The 28-year-old became the second pace bowler to take five wickets in a men's Test innings as captain of Australia, after George Giffen (three occasions in December 1894, February 1895 and January 1895), and has taken 133 wickets in the longest format since the start of 2018, more than any other player.

England skipper Joe Root won the toss and chose to bat on a green pitch in Queensland, and though Cummins acknowledged he would likely have made the same decision, he had no regrets over losing the coin flip as he looked back on a wonderful day for Australia.

"Pretty crazy... it's all gone to plan so far," Cummins told BT Sport.

"Really proud of all the guys. I was probably going to have a bat. I genuinely wasn't upset and we made the most of it.

"[The pitch] is a little bit soft. You're always in the game on the morning of day one. It got a little bit quicker after lunch but the ball got a little bit softer. It's a pretty standard Gabba wicket."

Asked to comment on his five-for, Cummins added: "The body felt decent. I've bowled better before and haven't got as many rewards. I kept it tight and got the ball up there."

Starc's 2-35 and Josh Hazlewood's 2-42 were added to by a first Test wicket for Cameron Green (1-6) as England were cast aside with ease - only four of the tourists' side making it into double figures.

The selection of opening bowler Starc had come under some scrutiny, but he responded in perfect fashion when his first delivery crashed into Burns' leg stump.

It is only the second time in Ashes history that a batsman has been dismissed with the first ball of the first Test.

"Really happy for him, he really held the attack together," Cummins said of Starc.

Pat Cummins made a blistering start to his Australia captaincy, spearheading a day of destruction with a five-for as England were skittled out for 147 on day one of the opening Ashes Test.

Cummins – who replaced Tim Paine as skipper after stepping down and ultimately taking a break from cricket following a lewd texting scandal – ushered in a new era with a five-wicket haul for just 38 runs before rain and bad light scuppered play at the Gabba on Wednesday.

England won the toss and opted to bat first on a green wicket in Brisbane but it was a horror day for Joe Root's tourists.

Mitchell Starc (2-35) knocked over Roy Burns' leg stump with the first ball of the series and things quickly turned sour, much to the delight of the local crowd.

Root's nightmare was realised when he was sent back to the pavilion for a duck by Josh Hazlewood (2-42) as England found themselves 11-3 after Dawid Malan (6) also succumbed to the Australian quick.

Australia continued to put England to the sword as Cummins claimed the scalp of star Ben Stokes (5), leaving England 29-4 through just 12.4 overs.

Haseeb Hameed (25) tried his best to steer the sinking ship, but Australia continued where they left off post-lunch – Cummins dismissing the opener with vice-captain Steve Smith on hand to collect the catch.

Ollie Pope (35) and Jos Buttler (39) guided England past 100 before Starc broke the partnership, Buttler edging through to debutant wicketkeeper Alex Carey for the second of his three catches.

Australia wrapped up the innings early in the afternoon as Cameron Green (1-6) celebrated his first Test wicket by removing Pope before Ollie Robinson (0), Mark Wood (8) and Chris Woakes (21) fell victim to Cummins, with the weather preventing the hosts from beginning their run chase.

 

Cummins joins exclusive club

It was a memorable day for Cummins, who became the second pace bowler to take five wickets in a Test innings as captain of Australia after George Griffin (three occasions in December 1894, February 1895 and January 1895). Cummins has taken 133 wickets in Test cricket since the start of 2018 – the most of any bowler in that time.

Starc silences critics

After avoiding the axe for the two opening Ashes Tests, Starc had the perfect response for his doubters with a first-ball wicket. It was just the second time in Ashes history a batter has been dismissed off the opening delivery of a series, while it was the 13th time Starc has claimed a wicket in the first over of a Test since 2014.

Australia have opted for Travis Head over Usman Khawaja as captain Pat Cummins confirmed the starting XI to face England in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba.

It was between Head and Khawaja in the race to bat at number five in Wednesday's opener in Brisbane and Australia stuck with the former.

Head, who played in four of the 2019 Ashes Tests and top-scored with 51 at an average of 27.28 before sitting out the final match, has made 394 runs – including two centuries – at 49.25 this Sheffield Shield season.

His overall Test record also stands at an average of 39.75 from 19 matches, including two tons.

Khawaja – without an international appearance in the longest format of cricket since the third Ashes Test in 2019 – also had a pair of hundreds as part of a 460-run haul at 65.71 in the Sheffield Shield.

But new Australia skipper Cummins and selectors preferred Head as they bid to retain the urn, though England are yet to confirm their XI.

"It was a tight one. Both really good options, really strong form," said Cummins on Sunday.

"Experience is great from Uzzie and we feel really lucky to have that in the squad, but Trav's been playing a lot for us the last couple of years.

"He's gone away and he's churned out runs in England, here in Australia, and we feel like he's really ready to go."

Australia quick Mitchell Starc avoided the axe, selectors keeping faith with the paceman alongside fellow pace bowlers Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Starc's position was under threat due to his form and the rise of Jhye Richardson, who had taken 15 wickets in his past two Sheffield Shield matches.

England captain Joe Root declined to announce his team during Sunday's series launch, telling reporters: "We've got all the options on the table [but] we're not going to name a team just yet.

"We'll have to see the closer forecase and how that pitch changes over the next couple of days.

"But it's a great place to play spin. It's something we'll weigh up and consider, but we're not in a position to make that call right now."

 

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

England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Australia will be aiming to preserve their 100 per cent record against Bangladesh in T20I action when a five-match series begins in Dhaka on Tuesday.

Matthew Wade will captain Australia in place of Aaron Finch, who is to undergo surgery on a knee injury, while Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are also not part of the touring squad.

Pat Cummins is another notable absentee, though the visitors still boast a strong bowling attack that is set to be led by Mitchell Starc, who is on the brink of becoming his country's all-time leading wicket-taker in the shortest format.

The left-arm paceman has 48 wickets to his name, putting him in a tie for top spot on Australia's list alongside former team-mate Shane Watson.

Set to keep wicket as well as lead the team, Wade – likely to bat in the middle order, a role he seems likely to fill for the T20 World Cup later this year – understands the issues that come with taking on a dual role.

"I'm obviously wicketkeeping, so the distance between the bowler and myself is a lot greater and that means there's a lot more responsibility on the individual," he told reporters.

"When you come in and take over from someone it's just about giving the ability for those guys to really take ownership of their game and at the top of the mark, they need to execute."

Bangladesh have some key figures missing too, including injured opening batsman Tamim Iqbal. As for Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das, they are not involved having failed to meet requirements for the bio-secure bubble agreed upon by the two respective cricket boards ahead of the series.

Mushfiqur left the recent tour of Zimbabwe early for family reasons amid the COVID-19 health crisis and could not make the July 20 cut-off date.

While they have lost all four previous T20I meetings between the countries, Bangladesh will recognise they are facing vulnerable opponents. Australia have lost each of their previous four series in Twenty20 cricket, a run that started after a 2-1 triumph over South Africa in February 2020.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, have won three of their last four men's T20Is played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, venue for all five matches.


Marsh makes an all-round impact

Mitchell Marsh excelled on the tour of the West Indies, finishing up as leading run-scorer in the T20 games (219 at an average of 43.80). However, his work with the ball was just as impressive in the Caribbean, claiming eight wickets while going at an economy rate of 6.76 runs per over. 

The 29-year-old all-rounder has a bowling average of 10.1 in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the best by any player from a Test-playing country in that time (minimum 10 overs bowled).

Star Shakib needs to shine

Bangladesh's batting line-up is weakened by the absences of Tamim, Mushfiqur and Das, meaning even greater responsibility could land on the shoulders of Shakib Al Hasan.

The all-rounder is on the cusp of becoming the first player to record 10 scores of 50 or more for Bangladesh in T20I action. His batting average in the format against Australia (35.8) is his second best against any team, only managing better against Pakistan (41.7).

Key series facts

- Australia's 4-0 record against Bangladesh in T20I action is the most number of games they have played against any country without suffering defeat.

- Bangladesh will be aiming to win back-to-back multi-game T20I series for the first time, after defeating Zimbabwe 2-1 in July 2021.

- Australia have won only one of their last T20Is (L5), a four-run victory over West Indies in July 2021.

- Bangladesh have scored 52 per cent of their runs from boundaries in T20Is since the beginning of 2019, the second lowest rate of any Test-playing country in that time (Sri Lanka: 45 per cent).

- Australia have a bowling dot ball percentage of 37 per cent in T20I fixtures since the beginning of 2019, the highest rate of any Test-playing country in that time and two percentage points higher than Bangladesh (35 per cent).

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