In a bid to prepare themselves for the upcoming Ashes series beginning August 1, Australia are playing within themselves to determine the final shape of the touring party to England.
The upcoming Ashes is anticipated to be one of the best games of Test cricket ever because both the teams are at their very best. Where on one hand, the Englishmen are full of confidence as they have a World Cup trophy to boast — their first-ever in ODIs — but the Aussies are no less than champions, especially the way they have backed their game in the recent past.
Talking about Australia’s preparation for the encounter, former Australian captain Steve Smith and Ashes aspirant Matthew Wade will be facing leading pacers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in an internal trial at Southampton that will decide Australia’s squad for the upcoming tour of England. David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will also be part of the practice match, albeit in the same squad as Starc and Cummins.
According to ESPNCricinfo, teams coached by Brad Haddin and Graeme Hick were named on Friday evening with Travis Head and Test captain Tim Paine leading the two sides. Head will have Starc, Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and David Warner in his side while Paine’s side will include Smith, Wade, Nathan Lyon, James Pattinson and Cameron Bancroft.
“I think it’ll definitely get the adrenaline up like in a Test match,” Cummins was quoted as saying. “It doesn’t happen too often – you’ll see our egos be put to the test, we’ll be going at each other I think. Maybe (played Smith before) in a T20, but not that I can remember.
“I think personally from my point of view it’s about trying to get myself 100 per cent ready for a Test match. I haven’t played a first-class game in a few months so it’s going to be trying to bowl long spells, get the ball swinging, try and think of ways to get batsmen out. These guys are really good players just like the English Test side. There’s no really obvious flaw so you’ve got to try to work a batsman out. It’s going to be a good hit-out, everyone is in good form.”
Haddin XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Kurtis Patterson, Travis Head (captain), Marnus Labuschagne, Will Pucovski, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland
Hick XII: Joe Burns, Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain), Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Chris Tremain, Nathan Lyon