Mason Crane to make England Test debut against Australia in final Ashes Test in Sydney
Australia welcome back Mitchell Starc for final Test with fit-again seamer replacing Jackson Bird
Last Updated: 03/01/18 11:09am
Mason Crane will make his Test debut for England in the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney after Chris Woakes was ruled out due to injury.
The leg-spinner steps in after Woakes underwent scans for a side injury, having played little part in net practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Woakes, a regular across all formats and part of the one-day international squad to face Australia later this month, suffered a torn side in the first match of England's ICC Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh six months ago.
Joe Root expects pitch conditions in Sydney to suit 20-year-old Crane, who will become the youngest specialist spinner to play for England in 90 years - Ian Peebles played as a 19-year-old against South Africa in 1927/28.
"On this surface, he's going to be a really good option," said England captain Root. "It looks like it should give a bit of turn throughout."
Crane, who has made two Twenty20 appearances, comes into the Test having taken five wickets for New South Wales at the SCG last year - the spinner was the first overseas player to represent the state since Pakistan's Imran Khan in 1984/85.
"The way he went about those Twenty20s shows he is right up for international cricket and he's not someone that is going to back down from any challenge," Root said.
"More than anything it's making sure he's not out for a significant period of time like he was throughout the summer. It gives him another week to get himself right."
Joe Root on Chris Woakes
Australia hold an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and welcome back Mitchell Starc, who is back bowling at full pelt again, having been forced to sit out last week's draw in Melbourne with a bruised heel.
Asked for his advice for the returning Starc, who will replace Jackson Bird in the XI, Smith said: "Make sure you're completely fit, and don't be doing further damage
"We have obviously got some one-dayers after this, Twenty20s and an important (Test) series in South Africa as well.
"That was the conversation I had after the Perth Test match - 'we've wrapped up the series, which is great, and we want to continue winning but you're a key member of our line-up, so don't do further damage because we need you in South Africa'."
Teams for fifth Ashes Test:
England: Joe Root (captain), Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Stuart Broad, Mason Crane, James Anderson.
Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood.