Usman Khawaja is fast becoming the Rohit Sharma, Ravi Bopara and Darren Bravo of Australian cricket. He is enormously talented but has failed to convert that ability into significant runs and is increasingly a fringe cricketer. He will play for Australia again, perhaps even in this series, but when he does he must be sure to capitalise.
If he misses out on selection, Steven Smith can count himself unfortunate. He was not even included in the initial Ashes squad, but since his addition has seemed to impress the management and had success in the warm-up fixtures. He is a cricketer who can bat, bowl and field and is a surprisingly astute thinker. It would be a surprise were he not to feature at some point in this series.
Matthew Wade was until recently the man in possession of the gloves for Australia, but the leadership vacuum and some poor glove-work ensured his first stint as wicket-keeper was cut (arguably cruelly) short. Wade has already demonstrated that he is a capable counter-attacking batsman and is certainly next in line to take over from Haddin in the near future.
James Faulkner was being tipped for a place in the Test team when Australia arrived in England. He'd performed exceedingly well in the Indian Premier League, especially with the ball, and whilst questions were mounting over Shane Watson's ability as an all-rounder, Faulkner was surely growing increasingly confident of a Test berth. However, the news that Watson would open and Smith's success in the warm-ups has put to rest those rumours. His exact role in the side is still unknown, and whether he is good enough to bat at number seven is highly debatable.
Jackson Bird has only played two Tests, so it is difficult to read too much into his very impressive statistics. If he is called upon, England would be right to be worried. He is a bowler with enormous potential.
It would probably be accurate to say England would not want to face Ryan Harris. He may be one of the most injury prone cricketers of recent times but when he has played he has almost always had success, and he took an excellent five-wicket haul against England in Adelaide in the last Ashes series.
Australia's reserve spinner is young Ashton Agar. It speaks volumes about the dearth of spin-bowling options that were Nathan Lyon to be injured, Australia would be picking an uncapped 19-year-old spin bowler. The days of Shane Warne and Staurt MacGill are long gone.