Stokes 'wants to play' Ashes finale as batter despite injury 'agony'
Ben Stokes has outlined his desire to play as a specialist batter in England's final pink-ball Ashes Test against Australia. The all-rounder suffered a side strain when bowling during the drawn fourth Test in Sydney, and is therefore a doubt for the final Test in Hobart, which starts on Friday.
Elyse Villani has made her case for an unlikely Ashes recall as Australia's selectors ponder how to replace the injured Beth Mooney. © Cricket Australia - Rob Prezioso/AAP PHOTOS Victoria's Elyse Villani is in line for a recall to Australia's T20 team after Beth Mooney's injury.
Mooney had surgery on a broken jaw on Tuesday, after the opener copped a ball to the chin in a net session on Monday.
Medical staff will wait until later in the week before landing on a return date, but at the very least she will miss the Twenty20s starting Thursday.
Australia have a ready-made replacement in Rachael Haynes in their squad ready to open, but she appears likely to stay in the middle-order after batting there in warm-up matches against Australia A on Tuesday.
Ashes Scout: Five changes for England, Marnus 'should open', angry Anderson fires back at Vaughan
England are expected to make wholesale changes for the Hobart Test, although they are still mulling decisions over the fitness of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. The Cricketer reported the tourists would make five changes when the teams are announced with wicketkeeper Sam Billings in for a Test debut. Opener Rory Burns will return to put Haseeb Hameed pout of his misery. With Hobart serving up a greentop for the pink ball Test, Ollie Robinson will come in for spinner Jack Leach with Chris Woakes expected to replace rested James Anderson.
Instead, Georgia Redmayne and Villani loom as the most likely options to partner Alyssa Healy.
Redmayne is uncapped, but scored 29 and 18 in the two matches for the 'A' side on Tuesday.
Villani meanwhile put on 47 from 42 and 45 off 27, after having not played for Australia since 2019.
However she was the third leading run-scorer in this summer's WBBL with 439 at 43.9, while also topping the charts in last season's WNCL.
Grace Harris could also loom as a left-field option.
"I'm fairly happy overall. I got two starts but probably would have liked to go on a bit more," Redmayne said after the two games.
"In the second game batting with Junior (Villani), we got us off to a really good start.
"I think she played fantastic, and working in partnership with her was really special.
Ashes LIVE: Updates, scores, highlights - Australia and England in the fifth Ashes Test at Hobart's Bellerive Oval
Australia will attempt to shut out England in the Ashes series as the fifth Test begins at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.Read back our live blog from today's action at Bellerive Oval.
"It's hard to know what they (the selectors) are going to do. They obviously have a lot of depth in the Ashes squad."
If selectors do opt to play Haynes in the middle order, it could come at the expense of the game's biggest name in Ellyse Perry.
Haynes missed the most recent series against India, while allrounder Tahlia McGrath starred to create a squeeze in the middle-order.
While Perry remains a fixture in Australia's Test and ODI team, chief selector Shawn Flegler and Mott have indicated in the past week she is no guarantee to be in the T20 team.
Perry missed the warm-up games against Australia A on Tuesday, after it emerged she had contracted COVID-19 earlier this month.
The 31-year-old was expected to join the camp on Tuesday night, and is available to play Thursday if picked.
"Perry had COVID approximately 2-3 weeks ago, she was asymptomatic and had no knowledge of the infection," team doctor Pip Inge said.
"This was incidentally diagnosed on a PCR swab done prior to departure for the series.
"Subsequent testing confirmed the results were in keeping with a past not current infection.
"Her delayed arrival into Adelaide was a result of further testing to confirm this result. She poses no risk to the team or the community."
Ashes hero Head gets state cricket gong .
Travis Head has added the male domestic player of the year award to his list of honours in the past month, including being man of the Ashes series.Head was on Friday awarded one of the two main domestic awards for the summer, with Elyse Villani claiming the women's honours.