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Harris to open batting with Warner for Australia in Ashes: Bailey

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Melbourne, Nov 11 (IANS) Left-handed Marcus Harris will open the batting with David Warner for Australia in the upcoming Ashes series against England, chairman of selectors George Bailey confirmed on Thursday.

The 29-year-old was one of the front-runners for the role alongside Queensland captain Usman Khawaja, with Will Pucovski likely to miss the first Test as he battles concussion symptoms. Harris also partnered with Warner when the last time Australia played Test cricket.

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Bailey heaped praise on Harris, who scored a century for Victoria against New South Wales at the start of the Sheffield Shield season and placed faith in him to nail down his spot.

“Harry’s had limited opportunities in the past ‘nd he’s been in and out a bit,’so we’d love nothing more than for him hopefully to get an opportunity to get an extended run at it,” Bailey told radio RSN on Wednesday.

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“It gives you great confidence as a selector when you know your opening batters are locked away as far as a Test series goes. It’s a hard spot to bat at and to get those places settled, it’s really important,” Bailey told RSN radio.

“Harry’s only had a limited opportunity in the past, and he’s been in and out a bit, so we’d love nothing more than for him to hopefully get an opportunity to get an extended run at it.

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“What we have liked is his consistency. He’s obviously been a prolific run-scorer at the domestic level here, but also loves the fact he went overseas and had a great year for Leicester as well,” he added.

Meanwhile, the 34-year old Khawaja could still earn a spot in the middle order for the first Test, with Bailey saying the No 5 spot “is certainly open” although he added the selectors were close to a decision.

“That No. 5 spot is open, but we’re starting to get fairly close there,” he said.

The five-Test Ashes is set to begin on December 8 in Brisbane. Australia retained the Ashes with a 2-2 series draw when the two teams last met in 2019 in England.

–IANS

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