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Bancroft in line to play Ashes series following suspension

LONDON (AP) — Cameron Bancroft is in line to play his first test since a nine-month suspension for ball-tampering after being named in a 17-man Australian squad for the Ashes series against England.

Bancroft was banned along with former captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner, with Smith and Warner receiving 12-month suspensions. All three were named in the Ashes squad on Friday, marking the full trio's return to an Australian side for the first time since the March 2018 sandpaper scandal during the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Uncapped Queenslander Michael Neser was the surprise selection in the squad that is aiming to retain the urn and win in England for the first time since 2001.

Neser, a right-arm seam bowling all-rounder, is one of seven fast-bowling options in the squad led by No. 1 test bowler Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and recalled all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.

Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne also earned selection after a series of high-scoring run totals at the domestic level and on an Australia A tour of England.

The announcement was made in Southampton, where the squad has been training ahead of the first test against England beginning Aug. 1 at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

"We have chosen 17 players as this gives us the cover and flexibility we believe we will need to ensure we are in good shape throughout a demanding schedule of five test matches in just over six weeks," said Trevor Hohns, the chairman of selectors.

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Australia squad: Tim Paine (captain), Cameron Bancroft, Patrick Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.

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More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/Cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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