Khawaja passes fitness test, Warner cops nasty knock
Left-handed batters have mixed day at training as the first Ashes Test looms large
Sam Ferris in Birmingham
30 July 2019, 11:49 AM AEST
After undergoing a series of vigorous tests, Australia batsman Usman Khawaja looks set to be available for selection for the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
Khawaja said on Sunday in Birmingham the hamstring he injured in the World Cup clash with South Africa at Manchester earlier this month was feeling fine having batted and sprinted during the intra-squad clash in Southampton last week.
What Khawaja had not done was run between the wickets, but the 32-year-old ran a series of 10 twos on the Edgbaston outfield on Monday afternoon before spending 45 minutes in the nets, taking slips catches from fielding coach Brad Haddin and then returning to the nets for another hit.
The only thing that appears to be standing in Khawaja's way for first-Test selection is whether the selectors deem the left-hander has had enough match practice since the injury to slot into the starting XI.
Khawaja missed the all-Australian game at the Rose Bowl and has not played since scoring 18 against the Proteas, but in his favour is the form he has displayed this year as Australia's leading run-scorer in all formats of international cricket.
"He's got through everything we asked," Haddin said on the latest episode of The Unplayable Podcast.
"We pushed him really hard the last few days and he's responded well.
"It's best to get the answers now rather than in a Test match and he's got through everything we've asked of him so far.
"We've got two more days, we'll see how he recovers but it's all looking like he's going to be right to play."
While Khawaja looks close to full fitness, David Warner is set to have a nasty bruise above his left knee after copping an inside edge off the bowling of paceman Michael Neser.
Warner carried on facing Neser and Josh Hazlewood before switching to the slower pace of the spinners net, but it wasn't long before he left to be inspected by the medical staff.
The dynamic opener limped out of the nets area on his way back to the away team dressing room where he iced the damaged area. Word out of the Australian camp is he will be fine for Thursday's opening day.
To round off the injury news from Monday, England's James Anderson bowled in the Edgbaston nets and was made to sprint at full pace as he aims to prove his fitness for Birmingham.
Anderson missed last week's Test against Ireland at Lord's having failed to overcome a calf injury he suffered playing for Lancashire on July 2.
The veteran, who turns 37 today (Tuesday), was one of three England players to practice on Monday alongside Stuart Broad and Jos Buttler.
With rain forecast for the next few days in the lead up to the opening day, the full England squad might not get a chance to train together outdoors.
But if that is the case, Haddin does not believe it will hamper the hosts.
"I think they got some really good cricket into their group last week against Ireland," Haddin said.
"They got to play in a competitive game, got rid of the hangover, I'd imagine, from the World Cup and they would have got a lot of cricket in there.
"And knowing (England head coach) Trevor Bayliss as well as I do, no matter whether they get on tomorrow or the weather's indifferent, he'll have them ready for the first ball."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
Tour match: Australians v Worcestershire, August 7-9
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval