Australia are looking to rebound from the painful third test defeat at Headingley. Photo: Reuters/Lee Smith

MANCHESTER – Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and chose to bat in their bid to reclaim the Ashes lead in the fourth test against England at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The visitors are looking to rebound from the painful third test defeat at Headingley, where all-rounder Ben Stokes's unbeaten 135 helped England level the series at 1-1.

“Looking at that wicket it looks a bit drier than you'd expect,” Paine said. “We thought we'd have a bat first and put the runs on the board. I've personally put Headingley to one side and I think a lot of the boys have. Good or bad, we have to move forward.”

Steve Smith, the newly crowned world's number one test batsman, returns to the lineup after missing the Headingley humdinger with concussion.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc will make his first appearance in the series after replacing Peter Siddle.

“It's a huge boost to have the best player in the world coming back into the side,” Paine added. “Mitchell Starc has come in - we think this wicket will have a bit more pace and potentially some reverse swing at the back end of the game.”

England have made one change to the Headingley lineup, with Craig Overton replacing Chris Woakes in the seam attack.

“We want (Overton) to keep doing what he has been for Somerset,” England captain Joe Root said. “We've had fantastic support throughout this series - we've had it all summer, and we want to repay the favour.”


Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (captain), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Jos Buttler, Craig Overton, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach.


David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (captain and wicketkeeper), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon. 

At the time of writing Australia was 81-2 (21 overs)