Ashes team news: Australia ace Josh Hazlewood to miss out as England eye changes

Australia are just one step away from retaining the Ashes.

With only a draw in the upcoming third Test against England required to hold onto the urn, the hosts will be brimming with confidence heading into the eagerly anticipated clash in Melbourne.

Despite a spirited second innings effort from England in the second Test, which saw Jos Buttler remain at the crease for 207 balls before tragically treading on his stumps, the hosts powered their way to a 275 run victory, after scoring over 700 runs between their two innings.

Josh Hazelwood set to miss third Test

The early team news from the Australian camp is that Josh Hazelwood will miss out for the second Test in a row, as he continues to recover from a side strain.

However, his side are far from short of quality alternatives, with Jhye Richardson likely to keep his place after claiming a five wicket haul in the previous match.

There's further positive news for the Aussies too, with Mitchell Starc likely to recovery from a minor back injury to feature, while new skipper Pat Cummins will return to the side fully refreshed after missing the last match due to being deemed a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

What is the early team news from England?

The pressure is mounting on England's selectors to shake things up ahead of the third Test, with openers Rory Burn and Haseeb Hameed, as well as middle order batter Ollie Pope, struggling to find any consistency in the series so far.

As the desperation to save the series continues to grow, the visitors have been tipped to recall towering opening batter Zak Crawley, who lost his place in the side following a dismal spell throughout 2021 that has seen him average just 11 in Test cricket.

Burns and Hameed are both ripe candidates for the chop, although it has also been suggested that Crawley could be brought in to replace Pope. Alternatively, Jonny Bairstow could return to the middle order, and potentially snatch the wicket-keeper’s gloves from Buttler following his shaky showing behind the stumps in Adelaide.

Elsewhere, England were lambasted for deciding against including a specialist spinner in their side for the second Test, and Jack Leach could be handed a recall despite a dispiriting showing in the series opener at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Mark Wood is also expected to return, after being rested in the previous match, and will give England the much-needed extra burst of pace as their only bowler in the squad capable of producing deliveries in excess of 90mph.

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