London: England named an unchanged squad on Monday for this week’s third Test against Australia at Headingley.
The injured James Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, will continue his bid to return later in the series by playing in a county 2nd XI match starting on Tuesday.
England’s selectors kept faith with the XI that drew the rain-affected second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Sunday, with the hosts having the better of an exciting last day before Australia held out to preserve their 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Surrey left-arm seamer Sam Curran, who did not play at Lord’s, retained his place in a 12-man squad for the third Test, which starts at England captain Joe Root’s Headingley home ground on Thursday.
With just a four-day turnaround between Tests in London and Leeds, major changes were always unlikely.
Now England will hope that is sufficient time for World Cup-winning fast bowler Jofra Archer, who took five wickets while repeatedly topping speeds of 90 mph on his Test debut, to recover from the 44 overs he sent down at Lord’s.
Anderson did not play in the second Test because of a calf injury that restricted him to just four overs in Australia’s 251-run win in the series opener at Edgbaston.
He is, however, to step his rehabilitation this week by playing for Lancashire 2nd XI against Leicestershire in a three-day friendly match in Liverpool.
Anderson’s fitness will be assessed continually ahead of the fourth Test at his Old Trafford home ground starting on September 4.
While England’s fallible top order remains a concern — World Cup-winning opener Jason Roy has made just 40 runs in four innings this series — the selectors have resisted the temptation to bring in new faces. They were under less pressure to make changes after the uncapped duo of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley, considered to be of the best young openers in England, were both out for low scores on Sunday.
Sibley got a duck for Warwickshire against Somerset on Sunday and Kent batsman Crawley was dismissed for just five against Essex. — AFP
Rory Burns (Surrey), Jason Roy (Surrey), Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Stokes (Durham), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Jack Leach (Somerset), Sam Curran (Surrey)