NEW YORK WEATHER

Veteran Usman Khawaja and middle-order batsman Travis Head were included in Australia’s squad for the opening two Ashes Tests against England Wednesday, but Matthew Wade was axed.

Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson also made the 15-man line-up as back-up for the fast-bowling attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood after the shock retirement of James Pattinson last month.

Marcus Harris, as expected, got the nod in the absence of concussion-hit Will Pucovski and is set to open alongside David Warner, fresh from his exploits in helping Australia win the Twenty20 World Cup on Sunday.

But there was no place for fellow World Cup standout Mitchell Marsh, despite calls for the all-rounder to be given another chance at Test level.

“This group is well balanced to ensure we are prepared for the many challenges of an Ashes series,” said chief selector George Bailey ahead of the opening Test at Brisbane on December 8.

“It has a mix of experienced, proven performers and emerging, developing talent,” he added.

After the second Test, a day-night match in Adelaide from December 16, the series moves to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Australia hold the Ashes, which they retained by drawing the 2019 series in England 2-2.

Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith are secure in the…

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