England have announced the 14-man squad that will partake in the fifth Ashes Test, which will also be the final match of the ongoing series.
The selection committee have made no changes to the squad from the recently concluded match in Manchester. However, some changes could be expected in the playing XI.
Among one of those key decisions is whether or not to play fast bowler James Anderson, who has not been in the best of forms lately. The veteran has played three Tests in the ongoing series and has picked up just four wickets, far from his usual best. With this match likely to be his final Ashes Test, the ECB have a decision to make where they battle emotion and statistics.
Josh Tongue and Ollie Robinson are the options available for England in case they decide to drop the Burnley-based fast bowler, who picked up just one wicket in Manchester. Tongue was released from the squad for the fourth Test to represent his county unit, where he picked up a five-fer and only bettered his chances of making it to the XI again.
Robinson, on the other hand, did the bulk of the damage in the absence of Mark Wood in the first three Tests, returning with 10 wickets. While there are plenty favouring the selection of one of these two bowlers, Anderson might get one final shot in the squad. Anderson, who will be turning 41 during the fifth Test as he celebrates his birthday on July 30, is 20 wickets away from becoming the second-greatest wicket-taker in Test history.
In the batting department, not many changes are expected, unless the side decides to rest and monitor the workload of some of the players. Jonny Bairstow was unfortunate to miss out on a well-deserved century in the last Test, remaining unbeaten on 99, and is likely to keep his place.
It has been one of the most eventful Ashes outings in many years, whose result was confirmed in a bitter-sweet way eventually. With rain taking away the final day of the fourth Test, which resulted in a draw, Australia successfully retained the Ashes with a 2-1 unassailable lead heading into London for the final Test.
England not short of motivation for fifth Ashes Test
English skipper Ben Stokes, however, assured the fact that England are not short of motivation despite the confirmation that the Urn will be going back to Australia, taking their Ashes drought past the 10-year mark as the next series will be played only after a couple of years. He also spoke highly of his team’s approach in the series and said the team will be remembered for the way they played their cricket.
“We will have to get over this disappointment and focus on that game as it is massive for us, 2-2 sounds better than 3-1,” Stokes said ahead of the match.
“The mentality we have within the dressing room is to go out and win. Everything we do is to be positive. It is an incredible honour to lead this team. I said in the dressing that the rewards for your work are not what you get it's what you become. I think we have become a team people will remember. Regardless of how the series ends up, people will always talk about us.”
The final Test will be played at the Kia Oval, London.
England squad for the fifth Ashes Test
Ben Stokes (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Josh Tongue, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood