5th Ashes Test: Sam Billings makes debut, England elect to field

England won the toss and elected to field Friday after making five changes and Scott Boland was cleared to play for Australia in the fifth Ashes test.

Jonny Bairstow, who sustained a thumb injury while helping England salvage a draw in Sydney, has joined wicketkeeper Jos Buttler (broken finger) in being an enforced omission for the day-night test.

England appears to have run out of patience with out-of-form opener Haseeb Hameed, while Jimmy Anderson and Jack Leach were also been omitted.

Ben Stokes, who sustained a side strain at the SCG, will push through the pain barrier and play.

“It is frustrating (that injuries have forced more changes). It’s something we’ve had to battle throughout the whole pandemic,” England captain Joe Root said after winning the toss. “Something we have tried to manage as best we can.”

Rory Burns, who was axed himself in Melbourne by England’s selectors after a terrible start to series, has been recalled to open alongside Zak Crawley.

Ollie Pope will bat at No. 6 in the absence of Bairstow, while Sam Billings will perform the wicketkeeping duties on debut after being presented with his cap by veteran paceman Anderson.

Fast bowlers Chris Woakes and Ollie Robinson replaced Anderson and left-arm spinner Leach.

Boland, who is nursing sore ribs after a bowling mishap at the SCG, passed his fitness test. Australia made one change for the match by recalling Travis Head at the expense of opener Marcus Harris.

Australia won the first three matches in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne to clinch the series and retain the Ashes before the draw in Sydney.

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Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (captain), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland.

England: Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (captain), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad.

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