(Reuters) - Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Wade and Mitchell Marsh have earned recalls to Australia’s 17-man touring party for the Ashes series against England, while uncapped Queenslander Michael Neser is a surprise selection in the pace attack.
Opener Bancroft earned a spot in the squad with an unbeaten match-winning knock of 93 on day three of the intra-squad clash in Southampton on Thursday.
The 26-year-old’s return means all three players - along with Steve Smith and David Warner - who were banned after the South Africa ball-tampering scandal feature in the squad and could all lineup for the first test at Edgbaston starting on Aug. 1.
“David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back in to the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances,” Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors, said in a statement.
“David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season and his innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality.”
Wade, who last played a test in September 2017, edged out Alex Carey as the squad’s reserve wicketkeeper-batsman behind captain Tim Paine, while all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne will serve as a second spinning option alongside Nathan Lyon.
“We have faith in his ability, we know our strength lies in our pace attack and we have Marnus Labuschagne’s leg-spin as another spin option as he has bowled almost 200 overs for county side Glamorgan in first-class cricket this season,” Hohns added.
“Wade fully deserves his recall as he has made an irresistible case for inclusion through sheer weight of runs with 1021 first-class runs at home last summer followed by three hundreds on the Australia A tour.”
Neser, the right-arm seam bowling all-rounder, is one of the seven fast-bowling options in the squad, led by world number one test bowler Pat Cummins, alongside Mitch Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Peter Siddle as well as Marsh.
Hazlewood returns for the first time since suffering a stress fracture of his back in January, which kept him out of contention for the World Cup squad.
“We have not won an Ashes series in the United Kingdom since 2001 but we are confident that this group of players can break that cycle and ensure we retain the urn that we won at home in the summer of 2017-18,” Hohns said.
The squad will travel to Birmingham on Saturday and practise at Edgbaston ahead of the first Test.
Squad: Tim Paine (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis