Australia made a forced change on their side for the fourth Ash Test, with Usman Khawaja replacing insulator Travis Head.
ead tested positive for Covid-19 after the Melbourne series victory and did not make the trip to Sydney, opening a comeback for Khawaja.
The 35-year-old served as the 12th man in the Ashes and now has the chance to contribute to Baggy Green for the first time since the famous 2019 Test at Headingley, where Ben Stokes claimed an unforgettable victory in England.
While his return was expected as soon as Head was unavailable, there were fitness questions to be answered before Australia settled on an unchanged bowling attack.
Josh Hazlewood would have returned to the XI had he been given the green light, but a side injury in the first test at The Gabba is still holding him back.
With Jhye Richardson also carrying a leg issue, that meant Scott Boland would retain his place at SCG. Boland put in a sensational first performance at home last week, claiming a remarkable six-for-seven numbers as England were blown away for 68 overall in the second set.
Despite this player-of-the-match performance, Boland could have been ruled out on the side if everyone had been in great shape.
“It’s no secret that if Joshy Hazlewood was available then he was going to play,” Cummins said.
“He was just a brilliant pitcher for us for a long time. We gave Josh every chance he could, he just felt like he couldn’t play full blast yesterday. We still hope he is right about Hobart (the Fifth Test).
“But it would have been a shame to see Scotty not play this week after his efforts last week.
“He’s been bowling as well as he’s ever done, it’s great that he can continue since last week. You need that disciplined strain-to-strain pitcher and that’s what Scotty brings to the table.