There were harsh calls but few surprises in Australia’s Ashes squad.
James Pattinson – who hit his straps with an imposing performance in the practice game – made a strong case to form a potential three-pronged pace attack at Edgbaston.
Marnus Labuschagne edged Kurtis Patterson for the middle-order batting position, courtesy his added skill to deliver wrist spin.
The inclusion of David Warner and Steve Smith turned out to be a no-brainer, despite the former’s horror show at Southampton. Capturing the headlines amid all this was Warner’s potential reunion with Cameron Bancroft, whose valiant knock of 93 resulted in a winning effort for his side.
(Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
In a low-scoring affair at a minefield at the Rose Bowl, Bancroft reminded the Australian selectors the reason he came into the Test side on his first stint. Sure, his Test career reached an abrupt halt after the Cape Town fiasco, but his warrior-like persona wasn’t going to fade away any sooner.
The unwavering stare to James Anderson at Gabba after being hit by the ball is a testimony of the tough character that he possesses. His on-field toughness is unquestionable.
The upcoming series is a question of how Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft can gel together. It is also a test of whether the trio can rise from their suspensions to produce the most defining moments of their careers.
Teams have endured controversies in the past. David Warner and Steve Smith have made changes.
But while those two had already established themselves as irreplaceable cogs in the team, Bancroft has a long way to go. The yoga, the meditation, a successful stint with Durham, and finally making a comeback to the Australian team has set him on what could be the greatest road to redemption.
David Warner and Steve Smith dealt with the hostility of the English crowd better than one may have expected during the World Cup.
Bancroft may have to pick a leaf out of their book to lift himself and thrive among an unsympathetic mob. The retaliation hasn’t been words, but a truckload of runs and Australia’s surprising performance at the 50-over tournament.