Bancroft, Wade and Mitchell Marsh earn Ashes call-ups

Marnus Labuschagne has also been included but Kurtis Patterson and Joe Burns miss out while there is no second frontline spinner

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
Cameron Bancroft won the last place in Australia's Ashes tour party with his dogged batting in difficult conditions in their final warm-up match. At the same arena, however, Joe Burns and Kurtis Patterson were unable to make the score that might have convinced the selectors to keep them, after centuries in the previous Test series played by Tim Paine's men against Sri Lanka.
Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh also earned recalls as part of Australia's 17-man squad for the Ashes, which also sees Peter Siddle and the uncapped Michael Neser as part of a six-man pace unit that includes James Pattinson.
Bancroft's return means that all three players who were banned after the Newlands ball-tampering scandal feature in the squad and could all line-up at Edgbaston, with Bancroft pushing strongly to be David Warner's opening partner, following his impressive 93 not out in the inter-squad match.
"They're welcomed back with open arms, there's no doubt about it," the selection chairman Trevor Hohns said in Southampton. "Steve Smith and Dave Warner, they're very good cricketers, world-class players. It was naturally we would include them now they're available again. And Cameron Bancroft has had quite a good summer here playing county cricket plus he played very well here in the recent game.
"[We were] always thinking about him [Bancroft] but needed to get our eyes on him because it's fair to say no one had seen much of him since his return. He played some Shield cricket towards the end of last season back home but more importantly we wanted to see how he was going in particular over here.
"But I don't know if you saw the way he played in this game out here just now, in very trying conditions. He's the type of player we think we need in our Australian side, he's tough, he's enthusiastic, his work ethic is fantastic. And he's infectious. We need people like that, people who want to continue to improve their game, and who are hard-nosed and tough. He fits the ball. Yes, [this warm-up was key to his recall]."
Marnus Labuschagne was also included and his legspin will provide some back-up to Lyon who is the lone frontline spinner in the squad with Jon Holland overlooked. Patterson and Burns, who both scored hundreds in Australia's previous Test against Sri Lanka in February, have been overlooked with a squeeze for batting spots following the returns of Warner and Steven Smith. The lack of a straight spin-bowling back-up for Lyon will intrigue in the first Test series in which concussion substitutes are in place.
"That's an interesting one. We kept asking ourselves 'Are we really going to play two spinners over here in England?' and we came up with the answer 'Probably no'," Hohns said. "We thought it would be handy having a batting spinning allrounder in the squad to complement Nathan if we wanted to go down that path. If anything was going to happen to Nathan in the short term we could contend with that but if there's anything to happen to him long-term, of course, we have the option of bringing someone else in.
"I don't have clarity unfortunately [on concussion replacements]. I think they're still working on that, the exact definition of like for like. That'll be an important one for everybody going forward, but at the moment I can't answer that."
There is no spot for Alex Carey who impressed at the World Cup with Wade, who has been rewarded for a prolific 2018-19 season which he carried into the Australia A tour, able to provide keeping cover for captain Tim Paine if required at short notice as could Bancroft. However, Carey will also be close at hand as he has a T20 Blast deal with Sussex in county cricket.
"Very tough call that one, on Alex," Hohns said. "He's been in very good form as we saw in the World Cup. We know in the short term if anything was to happen to Tim Paine, either during a game or what have you, we have two people in that squad who can cover. But if it were to be a long-term [issue] that's where Alex would come in. He's still in the country, and we'd have no hesitation calling him in."
The pace attack is a stand-out feature of the squad with Pattinson, who has been impressive over the last nine months for Victoria, Nottinghamshire and Australia A, joining the established trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. The latter is back in Australian colours for the first time since suffering a stress fracture of his back which ultimately, and to his own frustration, kept him out of the World Cup. Also part of the attack are the experienced Siddle and bustling seamer Neser.
"Very excited that he's back. He's been fantastic since he's been back involved with the Australian cricket team," Hohns said of Pattinson. "It's all credit to him to get back to where he is now after a couple of horrendous injuries he's had to endure. He's a bubbly character, he's lively, he's bowling very well and we're excited to have him back in our squad.
"Michael gives us a little bit of variety in that bowling attack, he's not a tall fast bowler like the majority of them, he swings the ball, he uses the Dukes ball in particular very well as you would see from his record back home over the last two seasons where we've used the Dukes ball in the second half of the season. His performances have been outstanding, so he gives us a bit of a point of difference there. Add that to the package he offers with his batting, he has a very good average batting at No. 7 for Queensland, plus he's a very good fielder.
"So the idea of six fast bowlers as well is to enable us to manage our fast bowlers as best we can, given the workload. There's five Tests and even the county games in between are very hot on the heels of the final day of each Test match. So we thought we needed the extra fast bowler there and Michael fitted the bill nicely for that. Whether he plays or not, takes part in the Test match series is in the lap of the gods at the moment."
For Marsh a place in the Ashes squad completes a notable turnaround in fortunes after he was dropped from all formats during the last Australian home season and also lost his central contract in April. He took a five-wicket haul in Southampton and also showed composure with the bat in demanding conditions. Neither he nor Hazlewood have, however, regained the Test vice-captaincy, which passed on to Cummins and Travis Head, when the former duo were missing through a combination of injury and form against Sri Lanka.
"At the start of last season when we decided to go with the two vice captains it was made reasonably clear that we weren't anointing anybody as the next captain," Hohns said. "It was more to help Tim Paine behind the scenes and do what a vice-captain does. Both those fellows have done a good job when they've been in that position.
"If anything were to happen to Tim on a day, we would probably have to make a call on that. At this stage possibly it would be Pat Cummins, but you can't hold me to that because we would make a call depending on who's playing. Pat's a fast bowler. As I've suggested before, fast bowlers may not play every game. So we'd have to make a call on that at the time.
Hohns added that there were still considerable debates to be had over the final make-up of Australia's XI. "It has been [an unsettled batting line-up] for some time, there's no doubt about that," he said. "And I can't sit here and tell you exactly what it will be right now, because we haven't discussed it. We'll contend with that when we get to Birmingham. The area of interest, well it's everywhere, but up the top there's conjecture about who David Warner's opening partner will be. And then the middle-order, we'll make a judgement call on that when we get to Birmingham."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig