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Australia drop Shaun Marsh for Usman Khawaja for Boxing Day Test

Australia drop Shaun Marsh for Usman Khawaja for Boxing Day Test
Usman Khawaja will bat at number three in the Boxing Day Test against West Indies in Melbourne.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australian captain Steven Smith confirmed the playing XI that will take on West Indies in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne with the inform Shaun Marsh making way for a fit Usman Khawaja.

Khawaja returned to the squad for the second Test after recovering from the hamstring injury he sustained during the second Test against New Zealand in Perth. 

After missing out on two Tests, Khawaja made a resounding century for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League competition to prove his fitness.

On the other hand, Marsh, who replaced Khawaja in the Australian lineup for the two games, scored a valiant 49 in the day-night encounter against New Zealand and followed it with a massive 182 in the first Test against West Indies in Hobart.

The other option for Australia was to drop the opening batsman Joe Burns and accommodate both Marsh and Khawaja in the playing XI.

Admitting Marsh was unlucky to miss out, Smith expressed his reluctance on tinkering too much with a settled combination.

"That was a big part of it, Joe’s been playing quite good cricket, he scored a hundred only a couple of Tests ago," Smith said.

"I think they (Burns and Warner) average 80 as a pair and it’s important to have a good opening stand so the selectors thought that was the right way to go.

"There’s been a lot of conversations around it, Shaun is obviously really unlucky to miss out after a brilliant 180 in last test match and 49 under a bit of pressure in Test before.

"There’s been lots of talks about it just and they just believe that’s the best way to go going forward." 

For West Indies, the all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite is likely to replace the injured Shannon Gabriel with Devendra Bishoo too in contention for a place in the team.

Australia XI for the Boxing Day Test:

David Warner, Joe Burns, Usman Khawaja, Steven Smith (captain), Adam Voges, Mitch Marsh, Peter Nevill (wk), Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh(12th)

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