Ryan Harris and Usman Khawaja into Ashes team for second Test

Ryan HarrisMitchell Starc’s hot and cold performance last week has cost him his position in the Australian team for the second Test.

Burly Queensland quick Ryan Harris will come into the XI in Starc’s place while Usman Khawaja has been called in to replace Ed Cowan in the Australian top order.

Starc can consider himself unlucky after claiming five wickets in the first Test though he was also prone to inaccuracy at times, while Cowan struggled with scores of 0 and 14.

Lord’s was the venue where Mitchell Johnson suffered his infamous meltdown four years ago when he lost his radar on the first morning of the Test.

England openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss punished him, sharing an opening stand of 196 – 126 of which came in a costly first session. Australia subsequently lost the Test by 115 runs.

Harris’s career has been marred by injury but at his best he is considered a vital part of Australia’s pace attack.

The 33-year-old has taken 47 wickets at 23.63 from only 12 Tests and is capable of swinging the ball at high pace.

Harris has not worn the baggy green since the third and final Test against the West Indies in the Caribbean last year.

The paceman was dogged by a shoulder injury last summer but sealed his place on the Ashes tour with some strong performances towards the tailend of the season for Queensland.

Cowan’s Test career is in peril after losing his place to Khawaja following an inglorious performance in Nottingham, where he was battling illness.Despite being picked for his ability to occupy the crease, Cowan lost his wicket cheaply to rash drives in the series-opener and now faces an uncertain international future.

Chris Rogers and Shane Watson were preferred as opener to Cowan, who had batted at the top of the order throughout the bulk of Mickey Arthur’s reign as coach.

Although the adopted Tasmanian was one of Australia’s better players on the disastrous tour of India he has managed only one century in his 18 Tests for a modest average of 31.28.

His replacement, Khawaja, had been out of favour since being dumped in late 2011 and has developed the unfortunate reputation of being a Test bridesmaid having been named on several occasions as a standby player but never getting the nod.

He was set to play the third Test in India but was part of the so-called Mohali four who were suspended for not completing their homework.

Khawaja, who made his debut in the final Ashes Test of the 2010/11 series, has played six Tests for an average of 29.22 and has not played since the embarrassing loss to New Zealand in Hobart in December 2011.

Team: Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Usman Khawaja, Michael Clarke (c), Steve Smith, Phil Hughes, Brad Haddin, Ashton Agar, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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