Mitch Marsh recalled by Australia for Ashes finale

By Rory Dollard, PA Cricket Correspondent

Australia have recalled all-rounder Mitch Marsh as they look to win the Ashes in style with a “grand final” at The Oval.

The tourists already know they will be lifting the urn aloft at the end of the series but are fully focused on turning their 2-1 lead into a 3-1 victory.

Marsh will get the chance to help them finish the job, with his ability to bolster the seam attack earning him a first appearance of the series in place of batsman Travis Head.

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“We’re very hungry for this, we’ve already spoken about the fact that we came here to win the Ashes not just retain them,” said Paine.

“Last week’s result was brilliant and we played very well but all our guys are fully aware this Test is bigger than that one. This is our grand final.”

Head drops out of the side after one half-century in eight innings, with Marsh back to face a side against whom he scored two hundreds in the 2017/18 Ashes.

His output tailed off after the highs of Perth and Sydney but Australia have been impressed by his reaction to time out of the team.

Travis Head has been dropped for the fifth Ashes Test (John Walton/PA)
Travis Head has been dropped for the fifth Ashes Test (John Walton/PA)

“Mitch has worked his backside off for the last six or seven months,” said Paine. “He got some pretty honest feedback when he was dropped during the India series, about where he was at both physically and with his cricket.

“He had a choice to make either to sulk about it, or to do something about it and Mitch at the moment is as fit as we’ve seen him.

“Watching Ben Stokes go about it during this Ashes, we’ve constantly spoken to him about him being at that level of fitness where you can bowl 25-30 overs and then come out and score a hundred.

“That’s something that Mitch has watched up close, and something that he’s aspiring to.

“He’s always worked very hard on his cricket and we know the talent that he’s got, so we’re looking forward to seeing him put all his hard work into action this week.”

Paine offered some sympathy to his opposite number, Joe Root, with the Englishman under scrutiny after overseeing unsuccessful campaigns against Australia at home and away.

“We know Joe is a fantastic cricketer, averaging close to 50, so I don’t understand why he’s under so much scrutiny,” he said.

“We know how competitive he is and we know he’ll be coming hard and looking to bounce back this week, so he’s a huge wicket as always.”

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