Men's Ashes: Australia's Usman Khawaja backs David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne for 'big runs' in remaining Tests

David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne have yet to display their best form in this Ashes series, but Australia team-mate Usman Khawaja is confident that will soon change; watch the third Ashes Test live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10am on Wednesday

Image: Usman Khawaja has hit a hundred and two half-centuries so far in the series

Australia opener Usman Khawaja is convinced top-order colleagues David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne will come good when they resume their quest to retain the Ashes at Old Trafford.

Khawaja is the tourists' leading run-scorer after their first three Tests against England, with a century and two 50s to his name - but Warner has struggled overall despite an innings of 66 in the second Test at Lord's.

The former Australia vice-captain was dismissed cheaply in both innings of the third Test at Headingley by his Ashes nemesis Stuart Broad, while Labuschagne - who began the series as the world's top-ranked Test batter - has yet to register a half-century.

"From my point of view, David Warner is in the top tier for Australia ever," insisted Khawaja. "With all respect, the media will write what sells newspapers and I understand that.

Image: Khawaja (right) is confident his opening partner David Warner will bounce back after two low scores at Headingley

"He's probably the hot topic right now. But I'll always back David no matter what and I think all the other guys would too.


"With Marnus, he's just getting starts and getting out - it sucks. He's normally a very good competitor, but I have no doubt that at some level, I expect him to get big runs in the next couple of games.

"He's too good not to if he keeps getting starts the way he is. His mindset is too good, he's so level-headed."

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Having kept the five-match series alive with their tense win at Headingley to make it 2-1, England are expected to rotate their bowling attack once more when the fourth Test gets under way on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Cricket.

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Veteran seamer James Anderson, the highest wicket-taker in England's Test history, is expected to earn a recall to the side on home turf at Old Trafford, where one end of the ground is named after him.

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Khawaja - who spent a season as a team-mate of Anderson's at Lancashire back in 2014 - believes England would be wise to include the man he bonded with over their shared love of a particular video game.

"He was a very quiet, reserved guy - I wasn't quite sure how to take him," the 36-year-old admitted. "Then somehow - I was addicted to Call of Duty on Playstation at the time and so was he! That's how we broke the ice.

"He came to my room and we started playing Call of Duty and I started getting along pretty well with him after that.

"I've got a lot of time for Jimmy - he's been an outstanding cricketer for such a long time and he's got his own end named after him, so he must be doing something right! I think there's always room for Jimmy Anderson in the team."

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Australia will retain the Ashes if they manage to avoid defeat in Manchester, but back-to-back victories for the home side would level the series and ensure a decisive showdown in the final Test at the Kia Oval.

Comparisons have been drawn with one of the recent Ashes classics in England - the 2005 series when Michael Vaughan's side wrested back the urn for the first time in 16 years - and Khawaja concurs with that suggestion.

Image: Marnus Labuschagne has dropped from the top of the ICC Test batting rankings since the start of the Ashes

He added: "It's been a great Ashes, all three games have been so close. We've got a chance to win the Ashes again this game and I think the guys are really excited about that. I think England is really excited about it too - they came off and won the last game.

"I've had so many people text me from back home telling me how good this series has been, comparing it to 2005 and saying it might even be better than 2005 at this stage.

"It's just great to hear, there's a lot of entertainment, a lot of people enjoying the cricket and that's what you want at the end of the day."

Watch the third Ashes Test live on Sky Sports Cricket from Wednesday. Coverage starts at 10am ahead of the first ball at 11am.