Ashes 2019: James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja confirmed for Edgbaston Test
Justin Langer has confirmed James Pattinson and Usman Khawaja will play.

James Pattinson has been inked in for his first match for Australia since February 2016, after head coach Justin Langer told reporters on Tuesday that three fast bowlers are competing for one spot in the visiting team’s XI for the Ashes opener against England this week.

Langer also confirmed that Usman Khawaja has been passed fit for selection and will play at Edgbaston.

Speaking ahead of the first Test starting Thursday, Langer stated that Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Peter Siddle are fighting for one open spot, which means that Pattinson will line up with Pat Cummins as two confirmed quicks.

(READ: Usman Khawaja clears fitness test, David Warner struck during nets)

“Starcy, Peter Siddle and Josh Hazlewood for one spot. Three pretty good players to try to find a spot for. All three are great or very, very good bowlers aren’t they?” said Langer.

This marks a successful comeback to the Test team for Pattinson, who played the last of his 17 Tests well over three years ago before injuries sidelined him.

(READ: Steve Waugh sounds Steve Smith warning to England)

Having undergone back surgery in November 2017 after a series of injuries, Pattinson returned to Sheffield Shield cricket a year later and in his first match he made a strong start with three wickets at the MCG. He took nine wickets in four matches before the Big Bash League break, and then suffered a side strain while playing for Brisbane Heat.

James Pattinson took 7/71 to bowl Victoria to the Sheffield Shield title.
James Pattinson took 7/71 to bowl Victoria to the Sheffield Shield title. (Image: @VicStateCricket)

Pattinson returned to Shield cricket and helped demolish New South Wales with five wickets, and then in the final against the same opponents he once again starred to help bowl Victoria to the title.

That earned him a spot in Australia A’s squad to tour England before the Ashes. The 29-year-old was named in Australia’s Test squad for the Ashes last week after taking 4/23 in 23 overs in the intra-squad practice match in Southampton and bowling fast during Australia A’s tour of England.

(READ: Five players who could be match-winners in Ashes 2019)

On Tuesday at Edgbaston, Khawaja underwent several strenuous tests under the supervision of Australia’s coaching and medical staff.

The batsman, who suffered a hamstring injury during the latter stage of Australia’s World Cup campaign earlier this month, was made to work on his running between the wickets, followed by an hour of batting in the nets and slip field catching practice.

“Usman Khawaja will definitely be in, he’s fit, ready to go, he’s playing well,” Langer said. “He’s a seasoned pro for us, he averages 40-odd in Test cricket, his hammy’s good, he’s running well, he’s passed all the fitness tests so he’s ready to go. He’ll bat No. 3.”