England have made four changes in their side that lost the second Ashes Test against Australia by 275 runs, bringing in Jonny Bairstow and Jack Leach as the tourists try to stage a comeback with win in the Boxing Day Test.
Rory Burns, Ollie Pope, Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad have been dropped from England’s playing XI for the third Ashes Test at the MCG.
While Zak Crawley replaces Rory Burns, who had a woeful season so far, and will open alongside Haseeb Hameed, Bairstow is likely to bat at No.6 in place of Ollie Pope.
Woakes and Broad have been axed following their unimpressive display in the second Test at Adelaide Oval to pave the way for spinner Leach and speedster Mark Wood.
“We have to try and spoil the (Australian) party here on Boxing Day,” vice-captain Jos Buttler said in a pre-match presser.
“We want to win the series, we want to win a Test match, we are not here just to take part and let 70,000 Aussies enjoy another victory.
“You want to be part of big occasions, and we have picked a team to cope with that and try to deliver for England. Everyone will be ready for the challenge to do what they can to help the team. We are trying to embrace an Aussies Christmas, but it is a massive game for us, and everyone is really excited to play at this brilliant venue and a hostile environment to be enjoyed.
“We need to play our best cricket here and we need to do so fast. The reaction to Adelaide has been honest and there are some great mates in that group so we need to use that honesty and find our best form,” added Buttler.
England XI for the third Ashes Test:
Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, James Anderson.