England make four changes for must win Ashes contest

Jonny Bairstow is coming in the England side which has made four changes. Photo: Reuters
Jonny Bairstow is coming in the England side which has made four changes. Photo: Reuters
Under-siege England have made four changes for the must-win Boxing Day Ashes Test.

Opener Rory Burns and paceman Stuart Broad have been dropped, along with Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes.

Bowlers Mark Wood and Jack Leach will return to the XI, while Zak Crawley and Jonathan Bairstow will play their first Tests in this series.

England also confirmed Jos Buttler will continue as wicketkeeper, rather than Bairstow taking over the gloves.

"We're certainly not here to just take part and let 70,000 people enjoy another Australian victory," Buttler said.

"We have to fight back, we want to win the series and we want to win this Test match. We'll take that 'backs against the wall' attitude because that's what we need to have.

"I'm sure it will be a hostile environment here but that's to be embraced and enjoyed, everyone is excited to be here.

"This is why you play the game because you want to be part of big occasions. It isn't always going to be easy, but you need to turn up in tough situations and play well when it's hard."

Meanwhile, Australia have dropped an Ashes selection bombshell, naming Victorian paceman Scott Boland for a dream Test debut.

Boland was brought in as cover earlier this week for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and just as well with fellow fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser ruled out because of soreness.

Josh Hazelwood was already out as he continues to recover from injury, meaning captain Pat Cummins and Boland are the two inclusions to the Australian XI.

"Jhye and Nes were a little bit sore after Adelaide so we've decided to go with Scotty," said skipper Cummins, who missed the Adelaide Test after being a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

"It's a luxury to have someone like him, fresh and ready to go."

Boland will become the second Australian men's second indigenous Test player after Jason Gillespie.

ENGLAND: Joe Root (capt), Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonathan Bairstow, Jos Butler (wk), Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach, James Anderson.

AUSTRALIA: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

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