Curran to make test debut for England; Smith has sore hand
England paceman Tom Curran will make his test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia on Tuesday, replacing the injured Craig Overton, who has a fractured rib.
England skipper Joe Root says South Africa-born Curran is a "feisty character" with an impressive work ethic.
Curran, an uncapped right-arm bowler, was only added to England's Ashes squad when Steve Finn was ruled out at the start of the tour due to injury.
The 22-year-old Curran played a one-day international and three Twenty20 matches for England earlier this year.
"Sometimes as a captain you have to go with your gut," Root said Monday. "It was a close call. He's obviously worked extremely hard, as has everyone else. You know you're always going to get absolutely everything out of him."
Australia regained the Ashes with a win in the third test at Perth.
Meanwhile, a sore hand may force Australia captain Steve Smith to tweak his approach during the fourth test.
Smith was on the wrong end of a freakish injury scare on Sunday when a ball driven by Cameron Bancroft burst over the nets and struck him on the right hand. Smith, waiting to bat at the time, wasn't wearing gloves.
Smith, who boasts a test average of 127.6 at the MCG after posting centuries in the past three Boxing Day games, had a short hit on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Smith admitted he still wasn't 100 percent.
"It was a little bit sore today playing a few different shots," he said on Monday. "But I'll be able to deal with it and I'll get on with it. Maybe I'll just have to use a bit more of my top hand throughout the game, a bit less wristy."
Australia has replaced left-handed fast bowler Mitchell Starc, who has a bruised right foot, with Jackson Bird.