Mitch Marsh was told to take note of Ben Stokes' engine and "worked his backside off" before earning a long-awaited Test recall for Australia.

Marsh hasn't played a Test for Australia since Boxing Day but has been selected in its 12-man squad for the Ashes finale at the Oval, starting Thursday night (8pm EST). He is expected to play for batsman Travis Head, who has been left out of the squad.

Australia captain Tim Paine said Marsh was told during the summer to lift his fitness if he wished to play as an international all-rounder again, with England's Stokes being the perfect model.

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"I think Mitch has worked his backside off for the past six or seven months," Paine told reporters.

"He got some pretty honest feedback when he was dropped during the Indian series about where he was at both physically and mentally with his cricket.

"He had a choice to make, whether to sulk about it or do something about it. At the moment he is as fit as we've ever seen him."

Stokes is widely regarded as one of the hardest working players in world-cricket, which was on display in the third Test at Headingley. He bowled 24 overs in Australia's second innings - including 14 in one spell - before batting for 219 balls across two days to win the Test for England.

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"We have constantly spoken to Mitch about that sort of level of fitness where he can bowl 25 overs then come out and score a hundred," Paine said.

"That's something Mitch has watched up close and certainly something he is aspiring to."

Selectors are yet to make a call on whether Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood will be rested from the series finale, which starts on Thursday.

Peter Siddle, who played the first two Tests, has been retained in a 12-man squad and could be recalled in place of the world's top-ranked bowler Cummins or an in-form Hazlewood.

Australia's 12-man squad: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Mitch Marsh, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (capt), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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