Australia's 26-year-old all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been included in the 13-man squad for the third test of the five-match series. The younger of Marsh brothers will be replacing Chadd Sayers, the right-arm medium bowler from South Australia.
With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins leading the line, Sayers was deemed surplus to requirements as Marsh could very well play the role of the fourth pacer if needed and could be handy with the bat as well. Moreover, the fact that the pitches at Perth, Sydney and Melbourne will be better suited for the batsmen, including Marsh in the squad gives the side even more balance.
Former Australia international Jason Gillespie was of the same opinion.
"I said after the first two Test matches the Australians will maybe add someone to their squad, possibly an allrounder because they'll feel the surfaces in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney are three very good batting surfaces," Gillespie said.
Marsh was in fine form in the Sheffield Shield earlier this year, where he scored 402 runs in 10 innings at an average of 45, including one century. Later, while making a comeback from a shoulder injury, Marsh led Western Australia to the JLT Cup title, Australia's List-A competition, scoring 338 runs at an average of 169 and striking at over 100.
The all-rounder has not bowled as much in the recent past because of the shoulder injury he was nursing. However, he might just be ready to roll his arm over come 14 December.
As far as the series is concerned, Australia have already gained a 2-0 lead, with two handsome victories - by 10 wickets in the first test at Brisbane and by 120 runs in the day-night test match at Adelaide. The hosts would be looking to wrap up the Ashes in the third test itself, which starts on 14 December in Perth.
Australia Squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird.