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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Vince and Malan set for England batting berths in Brisbane

Three Lions call up Curran to replace sidelined Finn

Mitchell Starc and New South Wales celebrate a Western Australia wicket
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James Vince and Dawid Malan look to have won the battle for berths in England's first Ashes Test batting order after being picked for the Three Lions' second warm-up match, a day-nighter with a pink ball, that starts early on Wednesday at Adelaide Oval.

But bookmakers still seem unconvinced about the likelihood of the pair cementing their places with big scores before or during the first Test at Brisbane that starts on November 23 and afterwards in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.

Vince, set to bat at number three, remains a 10-1 shot to be the tourists' top series runscorer, while Malan, set to come to the crease at number five, is still 12-1 to finish top of the visitors' charts.

Australia are 4-9 shots to win the series and 8-11 to prevail at the Gabba later this month, with England 100-30 and 9-4 in these two markets. A stalemate in Brisbane is available at 9-2, while a series draw can be backed at 8-1. 

One of the reasons for the solidity of the hosting Baggy Greens, who won the 2013-14 Ashes 5-0 in Australia, is the sensational form of fit-again left-arm pace ace Mitchell Starc.

Starc, 7-4 favourite in the top Australia series wicket-taker heat, took a hat-trick in each Western Australia innings for New South Wales in the latest round of Sheffield Shield matches.

The Three Lions, who are 2-1 to retain the urn that they gained with a home 3-2 success two summers ago, have also called up 22-year-old Surrey quick Tom Curran to their Ashes Test series squad after it was confirmed on Tuesday that Steven Finn has suffered a knee cartilage tear.

Curran, who has taken 171 wickets in 51 first-class matches with a best innings return of 7-20 and best match figures of 10-176, made his Twenty20 and ODI debuts for the Three Lions last season.

He now seems to now be in front of Liam Plunkett in the five-day fast-bowling pecking order of coach Trevor Bayliss and captain Joe Root.

Durham speedster Mark Wood, who played Tests against South Africa in June, was not considered as he has not returned to full fitness.

England team v Cricket Australia XI (starts 3.30am Wednesday): A Cook, M Stoneman, J Vince, J Root, D Malan, J Bairstow, C Woakes, C Overton, J Ball, M Crane, J Anderson.


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Starc, 7-4 favourite in the top Australia series wicket-taker heat, took a hat-trick in each Western Australia innings for New South Wales
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