Ashes 2017-18: Marsh and Warner beat injury scares

 Cameron Bancroft of Australia is congratulated by Steve Smith of Australia.  PIcture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Cameron Bancroft of Australia is congratulated by Steve Smith of Australia. PIcture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

ENGLAND have opted to bat in the Ashes opener at the Gabba, where Shaun Marsh and David Warner have both overcome injury scares to take their place in Australia’s XI.

Joe Root won the toss on Thursday, when counterpart Steve Smith admitted he was also keen to bat first.

Debutant WA batsman Cameron Bancroft received his baggy green earlier this morning.

Glenn Maxwell flew to Brisbane on Wednesday, when selectors summoned the batsman as cover for Marsh (sore back) and Warner (stiff neck).

It was initially thought Maxwell was summoned as cover for the vice-captain.

It emerged on Wednesday afternoon that Marsh, who was slated to open if Warner wasn’t fit enough to feature in the first Test, was also nursing a niggle.

The presence of only one shadow batsman suggested Marsh’s concern was more serious than that of Warner.

“Apparently he (Marsh) dived at training this morning and felt a little bit sore in the back,” selector Mark Waugh told Fox Sports on Wednesday night.

“Shaun Marsh has obviously got a bit of history with back injuries. I’m not sure whether it’s the same injury as he’s had in the past.

Marsh was restricted by a jarred back in his most-recent Test earlier this year in India.

England paceman Jake Ball has recovered from a sprained ankle and will play the fourth Test of his career, having been picked ahead of fellow quick Craig Overton.

“Jake has bowled well when he’s had opportunities on the tour and the way he goes about things on these surfaces could be really challenging for the Australians,” skipper Joe Root said.

“It wasn’t an easy decision.”