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Harris misses chance to secure Test spot

Marcus Harris has invited his top-order rivals to mount their case after falling for just three as Australia chased England’s first innings 147 at the Gabba on Thursday.

The left-hander was troubled in his short stay by Ollie Robinson, eventually edging the burly quick to Dawid Malan at third slip as his Ashes average slipped to historic levels.

An incumbent from the last Test side that played India, Harris looked set to be overtaken by Will Pucovski before his fellow Victorian’s latest concussion setback.

Then Queensland captain Usman Khawaja’s strong form saw him enter the discussion.

But Harris was backed in by chief selector George Bailey, who ended debate over who would open alongside David Warner by privately and then publicly endorsing him for the job weeks before the first Test.

Harris was unconvincing in Brisbane though, his Test average now dropping to 22.68.

His average of 8.71 is comfortably the worst for any opener who has batted a minimum of four times in an Ashes series.

According to statistician Ric Finlay he ranks 223rd out of the 233 players who have opened at least 20 times in Tests.

Harris averaged 69.88 and topped the Sheffield Shield run charts in 2018-19, backing it up with an average of 63.18 last season.

And he’s coming off a century in his first Shield match this season that followed a productive County Championship stint – Harris averaged 54.5 across eight games – with Leicestershire.

After 10 Tests that form is yet to translate though.

Khawaja, who was pipped for the No.5 spot by Travis Head to play at the Gabba, averages 96.80 in seven innings as a Test opener, while South Australian Henry Hunt and former Test opener Matthew Renshaw are also in the conversation.

All three are in action for Australia A against the English Lions at the nearby Ian Healy Oval in Brisbane, Hunt unbeaten on 29 midway through the first session with Renshaw due to bat at No.3 and Khawaja No.5.

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