Ashes 2019: Starc and Hazlewood dropped as Australia bat first at Edgbaston
Australia have left out Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood for the first Ashes Test against England, in which the tourists will bat first after winning the toss at Edgbaston.
The exclusion of Starc, the Cricket World Cup's leading wicket-taker, had been predicted in the days leading up to the series opener, but Hazlewood also missed out on selection.
Australia captain Tim Paine confirmed at the toss that James Pattinson and Peter Siddle had got the nod to partner Pat Cummins in his pace attack. Pattinson will be making his first Test appearance since February 2016 after returning from radical back surgery, while Siddle returns having impressed for Essex in the English County Championship.
Starc has struggled to produce his best form in recent red-ball action, but leaving him out still represents something of a gamble from Australia given his outstanding performances during the World Cup in England and Wales.
"It's difficult to leave them out," said Paine of Starc and Hazlewood. "They've been quality performers for a long time but they're going to play a part in the series."
Tim Paine walks out for the coin toss in his first #Ashes Test as skipper. pic.twitter.com/IrCBPDwmjh
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) August 1, 2019
As expected, Cameron Bancroft ousts Marcus Harris at the top of the order, the former returning to the Test arena along with David Warner and Steve Smith following the trio's bans for their roles in last year's ball-tampering scandal. Matthew Wade was picked to bat at six, ahead of Mitchell Marsh.
England named their team on Wednesday. The fit-again James Anderson, who turned 37 on Tuesday, has been included but there is no place for Jofra Archer.
Home skipper Root will bat at number three, having previously expressed a preference for coming in at four.
The opening day's play looked set to start on schedule at 11am local time, but afternoon showers were forecast in Birmingham.
England: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (captain), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
Australia: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain), James Pattinson, Pat Cummins, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.