Starc, Hazlewood battle for Lord’s vacancy
Australian selectors have mustered the courage coach Justin Langer said they would need and left James Pattinson out of the final 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord's.
Josh Hazlewood looks likely to play in place of James Pattinson as bowler management for the five Test series kicks in straight away, with Mitchell Starc also in the 12.
Langer said on Monday that the three-day break between this Test and the third at Headingley, which starts next Thursday, would be a factor in deciding who plays at Lord's.
Pattinson played his first Test since 2016 in the opening victory at Edgbaston, taking 2-111 across two innings, in which he bowled 35 overs.
It wasn't as heavy a workload as expected, but with rain forecast for three of the five days at Lord's, and the high possibility of a draw, the extra break could leave Pattinson primed for the next Test at Leeds.
"We know that back-to-back Tests are always hard," Langer said.
"We were lucky in the first Test that our fast bowlers didn't have to bowl much in the second innings, as Nathan (Lyon) bowled very well and the way the game panned out.
"But it's certainly something that's on our mind. It will be on England's mind as well. You've got to get through back-to-back Test matches, that's why Test series are hard, Ashes series are hard.
"Where we're fortunate at the moment is we've got six fit and healthy fast bowlers.
"The fact that we had Josh (Hazlewood) and Mitch Starc on the bench last Test match, it doesn't happen very often so we won't get complacent with it, we'll just be happy we're in that spot."
Hazlewood, who has 164 test wickets but missed the first Test in an 11th hour decision, was the pick of the bowlers in the tour match at Worcester last week.
He not only took 3-34 from his 15 overs, but bowled with the sort of control that has become a key plank in Australia's Ashes game plan.
Captain Tim Paine said both Hazlewood and Starc have a good record at Lord's and both could contribute if picked.
"We are really happy with the group of fast bowlers we have got. We think in all conditions all can play a role here.
"We've spoken to the group of bowlers about having this core group together for the next four or five years.
Paine said leaving Pattinson out was aimed at the bowler's longevity.
"He has come back off a really long layoff, a really long preparation and we want to make sure he is cherry ripe for the next five years.
"What has happened in the past, he's come back and because he's so good we have played him and he has broken.
"He's available, but we have decided to rest him and make sure his long-term future is in really good shape."
Starc also took two wickets at Worcestershire, but went for close to four runs an over.
Langer said it would take courage to change a winning side, but he and the selectors would do whatever was necessary to win the Ashes.
"We've got to be as good at the back end as we are at the front. It's easy to be good at the front end," he said.
"And that's what I said after Edgbaston, we're not here to win the Edgbaston Test, we're here to win the Ashes."
Australia has announced a 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord's starting on Wednesday: Tim Paine (captain & wicketkeeper) David Warner Cameron Bancroft Usman Khawaja Steve Smith Travis Head (co vice-captain) Matthew Wade Pat Cummins (co vice-captain) Mitchell Starc Peter Siddle Nathan Lyon Josh Hazlewood