Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood will return to the Australian squad and try to help the visitors secure the Ashes 2023 series against England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford this week.

Captain Pat Cummins also said on Tuesday the top five batters will remain but they were considering not including rookie spinner Todd Murphy.

That could mean a recall of first-choice allrounder Cameron Green, who was fit again after missing the third test at Headingley with a hamstring issue.

Mitch Marsh filled in for Green and hit a brilliant century to pose a selection conundrum for the selectors.

Australia will confirm its side at the toss on Wednesday. Even after losing at Headingley by three wickets, Australiais still at a 2-1 lead.

Scott Boland will make way for Hazlewood after taking no wickets in Leeds. Boland has only two wickets in the series from the opening win at Edgbaston.

Hazlewood has eight wickets after also playing in the second win at Lord`s. But he was rested from Headingley to manage his workload.

Retaining the top five means David Warner will continue opening. Warner is averaging 23.5 in six innings but has contributed to opening stands of 61, 73 and 63 with Usman Khawaja.

“(Warner) has been going really well,” Cummins said.

“I thought at Lord`s, he was really impressive. Last week, like many of us, he probably didn`t contribute as much as he would have liked with the bat.

“He`s been out there over the last couple of days putting in a lot of work, but I think this tour he has shown a lot of good signs and hasn`t quite kicked on to make that big score. Some of those innings he`s played under really tough circumstances has made it easy for (Steve) Smith to come in and score runs, or the like.”

Also Read: `I’ve always found it difficult bowling to David Warner`: Stuart Broad

Australia has not gone into a test without a frontline slow bowler since January 2012 but with Nathan Lyon injured and Murphy considered more dispensable, it was considering a significant change to the balance of the side. Playing Green and Marsh will shore up the batting but diminish their options in the field. An all-seam attack will have to be complemented by Travis Head`s spin.

Murphy bowled only 9.3 overs for one wicket at Headingley.

“It`s all really conditions based,” Cummins said.

“I would have loved to bowl him a bit more but there wasn`t a heap of overs in the game, the ball seemed to swing and seam a little bit, so that`s certainly something to weigh up this week.”

It rained in Manchester most of Tuesday and was to clear early Wednesday. But rain was forecast to return on Saturday.

‘No issues with James Anderson’

With Manchester in for a wet weekend, England captain Ben Stokes said that the team might do more seeing as they have to win again to force a series decider at the Oval.

“With the weather that`s predicted, it might bring more out of us again knowing that we might have to push the game on even more than we normally do,” Stokes said.

England named its side on Monday and made only one change, bringing back James Anderson at his home ground for Ollie Robinson.

Also Read: Ashes 2023: James Anderson recalled in England squad for fourth Test against Australia

Anderson has only three wickets at an average of 75 from the first two tests, but Stokes said his value wasn`t only in wickets.

“When you`re a quality performer like Jimmy has been for the last 10 years, he is going to be disappointed that he`s not contributed to the team like he normally does,” Stokes said.

“But I did say to him, Even if you`re not taking wickets like you want to be doing, at the other end you see the pressure you`re putting on the opposition.`

“He holds an end up without that being his main obligation with the ball. You don`t get as many wickets as him without having the odd bad game here and there — there`s no issues whatsoever with Jimmy.”

(With AP inputs)

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