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Australia win toss, bat against England at Oval

Australia captain Michael Clarke pictured during a press conference at The Oval cricket ground in south London on August 20, 2013. Clarke won the toss and elected to bat against England in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval starting on Wednesday.

Australia captain Michael Clarke pictured during a press conference at The Oval cricket ground in south London on August 20, 2013. Clarke won the toss and elected to bat against England in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval starting on Wednesday.  (AFP)

Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat against England in the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval in south London starting on Wednesday.

England, who at 3-0 up had already retained the Ashes and won the series, gave Test debuts to Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes and Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, with Tim Bresnan injured and struggling batsman Jonny Bairstow dropped.

Woakes replaced Bresnan, out for the rest of the season with a back injury after starring with both bat and ball in England's 74-run fourth Test win at Chester-le-Street.

Kerrigan, whose 47 wickets, albeit in the Second Division, at 20.23 make him the leading spinner in County Championship cricket so far this season, was included as a second spinner alongside off-break bowler Graeme Swann.

The 24-year-old was selected in a 14-man Test quad at the weekend after fellow left-armer Monty Panesar, England's longtime second spinner, was omitted following personal problems that have seen him leave Sussex.

The Oval pitch is renowned for taking turn but this was the first time England had played two spinners in a home Test since the opening match of the 2009 Ashes in Cardiff.

Bairstow was dropped after scoring just 203 runs in four matches this series at an average of 29.

England, who've now won a third straight Test series against Australia for the first time since the 1950s, also left out fast bowlers Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn from their final XI.

Australia, looking to end a run of eight Tests without a win and seeking to avoid a first Ashes without a victory since 1977, announced their team Tuesday.

It showed two changes from the Chester-le-Street side, with all-rounder James Faulkner given a debut in place of under-performing batsman Usman Khawaja, with Shane Watson taking Khawaja's place at number three.

Fast bowler Mitchell Starc was recalled in place of Jackson Bird to complete a curious series that has seen the left-armer play in the first, third and fifth Tests while dropped from the second and the fourth.

Australia have now used 17 out of their 18-man squad this Ashes, with reserve wicketkeeper Matthew Wade the lone player to miss out.

Victory in this match would see England win four Ashes Tests in a home series for the first time.

Teams

England: Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Chris Woakes, Matt Prior (wkt), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Simon Kerrigan, James Anderson

Australia: Chris Rogers, David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wkt), James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Kumar Dharmasena (SRI)

TV umpire: Tony Hill (NZL)

Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)

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