Spinner Crane to debut at SCG, Woakes out

A stellar season in Sydney grade cricket, a strong showing on Twenty20 international debut and sensible advice from Stuart MacGill has led to a Test debut for Mason Crane at the SCG.

Crane will replace injured paceman Chris Woakes in England's XI for the Ashes series finale that starts on Thursday.

Woakes had scans on Wednesday after complaining of a sore side. England are upbeat he will be fit for the ensuing ODI series but have ruled him out of the fifth Test.

The tourists will present the 20-year-old Crane with a cap at the same venue where he played for NSW during the 2016-17 Sheffield Shield season, having dominated for club side Gordon.

"He's very excited ... it's great to see someone so desperate to play for England," skipper Joe Root said.

"The way he went about those T20s (last year) in an England shirt shows he is not going to back down from any challenge ... he's a serious competitor."

Crane looks likely. Image: Getty

Crane, who last year became the first overseas player to represent the Blues since Imran Khan in 1984-85, has been working closely with MacGill in the nets this week.

"He has bowled well when he has had the opportunities on this trip and it is a really good chance for him to show what he is capable of," Root said.

"The way he's conducted himself throughout the whole trip has been outstanding.

"On this surface he is going to be a really good option."

The latest setback means out-of-form allrounder Moeen Ali and young paceman Tom Curran have both been retained in the tourists' team.

However, Root insisted Moeen was never facing the axe despite capturing just three wickets at 135 during the first four Tests.

Crane, speaking earlier in the tour, welcomed the prospect of Australia's batsmen trying to belt him out of the attack.

"You've got to get used to it because that is the way Australians tend to play spin," Crane said.

"I know they are going to come after me, so it is about holding my nerve and getting them out in the end.

"I'm very confident if I was called upon I could do a job.

"I probably wouldn't be here if other people didn't think so either."

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