Bancroft joins Smith, Warner in Australia's Ashes squad

Opening batsman Cameron Bancroft was on Friday included in Australia’s 17-man squad for a five-Test Ashes series against England alongside Steve Smith and David Warner.

All three batsmen served lengthy bans for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

Former captain Smith and his then deputy Warner were both given 12-month suspensions by Cricket Australia, with Bancroft — who actually applied sandpaper to the ball while in the field during a Test in Cape Town — banned for nine months.

Both Smith and Warner were expected to be in the Ashes squad after doing well in the recent World Cup, when the defending champions reached the semi-finals.

Bancroft, who has been captaining English county side Durham, appears to have forced his way in after making an unbeaten 93 in the tourists’ intra-squad match at Southampton this week.

“David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft have forced their way back into the Test squad through the excellence of their recent performances,” said Australia national selector Trevor Hohns in a statement.

“David and Steve also have the advantage of being proven players at Test level while Cameron has produced impressive numbers for county side Durham this season.

“His innings in the intra-squad match in Southampton on a tough pitch was outstanding and showed his quality.”

Holders Australia are looking to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001.

Australia’s 17-man squad for a five-Test Ashes series against England announced on Friday: Tim Paine (Tasmania, capt/wkt), Cameron Bancroft (Western Australia), Patrick Cummins (New South Wales), Marcus Harris (Victoria), Josh Hazlewood (New South Wales), Travis Head (South Australia), Usman Khawaja (Queensland), Marnus Labuschagne (Queensland), Nathan Lyon (New South Wales), Mitchell Marsh (Western Australia), Michael Neser (Queensland), James Pattinson (Victoria), Peter Siddle (Victoria), Steve Smith (New South Wales), Mitchell Starc (New South Wales), Matthew Wade (Tasmania, wkt), David Warner (New South Wales)

FIXTURES

August 1-5: First Test, Edgbaston

August 7-9: Worcestershire v Australians, Worcester

August 14-18: Second Test, Lord’s

August 22-26: Third Test, Headingley

August 29-31: Derbyshire v Australians, Derby

September 4-8: Fourth Test, Old Trafford September 12-16: Fifth Test, Oval