By Stephen Giles
- Preview of the fifth and final Investec Ashes Test Match at The Oval
- James Anderson is named in a 14-man squad.
- Michael Clarke captains the tourists for the final time.
- England regained the Ashes at Trent Bridge and lead 3-1.
LONDON, UK – James Anderson has been deemed fit enough to take his place in a 14-man England squad for the fifth and final Ashes Test match at The Oval.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker had missed the fourth Investec Test at Trent Bridge because of a side strain he suffered in the third match at Edgbaston, where in his absence, the hosts confidently regained the Ashes – winning by an innings and 78 runs to take an unassailable 3-1 lead, with just The Oval to come.
Anderson replaces uncapped Derbyshire left-arm seamer Mark Footitt who was called up as cover for Mark Wood in Nottingham .There are otherwise no other changes to the squad with out-of-form opener Adam Lyth perhaps given his final chance to prove himself to the selectors.
If Anderson fails to be fit for the final Test of the summer or is rested with a three match Test Series in mind against Pakistan in October – it will be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made to the line-up.
National selector James Whitaker said of Anderson:
‘He is continuing to improve and may be able to play a part at the Oval – although with the series won, we will not be taking any chances given the cricket we have in the coming months.
Adil Rashid has been hotly tipped all summer to be involved as the second spinner behind Moeen Ali but any decision will logically be subject to the condition of the pitch on the morning of the Test.
In stark contrast, the tourists are playing for pride and places. In a week that they feebly gifted the Ashes back to England, Michael Clarke has since announced his retirement once the Ashes are over – with Steve Smith taking over as captain.
Aussie commentators have since attributed their abysmal tour on a number of things: Poor weather, wrong team selection, Clarke not being sociable enough, to the WAGS (wives and girlfriends) becoming too much of a distraction.
However, Shane Warne chimed in:
‘This is garbage and what makes it so putrid is that some of it has come from people who shared a dressing room with Michael.
‘Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden, to name a couple, don’t have to like him, but they should show respect for a guy who has won two World Cups, skippered his country to an Ashes whitewash and a series win in South Africa against the No 1 ranked country and scored more than 8,000 Test runs.
Australian team news
Josh Hazlewood is under pressure to hold onto his spot after a disappointing performance at Trent Bridge. Pat Cummins – currently playing in Australia’s tour match against Northamptonshire – could be given his debut after impressing, with Nathan Lyon backing his inclusion:
“I thought he bowled brilliantly. He hit the deck hard and showed his capabilities. He could’ve had four early wickets there. Sometimes you’ve got to do the hard yards to get the result at the end of the day.
Australia will almost certainly make one other change for the Fifth Test, with Mitchell Marsh coming back into the team after Darren Lehmann admitted after Trent Bridge that he and the other selectors had made a grave error by going into the must-win Nottingham affair without an all-rounder. He is likely to replace his brother – Shaun Marsh.
It's an honour and privilege to be given the opportunity to Captain the Australian Cricket Team. I'm really excited about what lies ahead.
— Steve Smith (@stevesmith49) August 14, 2015
The Investec Ashes 5th Test match begins at 11am, Thursday 20th August – Follow via the Britwatch Live Score Service.