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Unchanged squad for England ahead of Headingley clash
James Anderson to make his return for Lancashire’s second team.
England have named an unchanged 12-man squad for the third Ashes Test at Headingley beginning on Thursday.
The brevity of a four-day turnaround between matches meant changes to the struggling top order were always unlikely at this stage, while James Anderson is not yet considered fit after a calf injury.
That means the XI that drew a compelling, rain-affected draw at Lord’s on Sunday will remain in place, joined by all-rounder Sam Curran, who will be withdrawn from Surrey’s Specsavers County Championship game against Hampshire.
Anderson, who pulled up after bowling just four overs in the first Test defeat at Edgbaston, is said to be “making progress”.
He will play for Lancashire’s second XI in a three-day match against Leicestershire on Tuesday in Liverpool and will be assessed continually leading up to his home Test at Old Trafford on September 4.
While the selectors were always likely to keep faith with their batting personnel for at least one more match, their decision was made a little easier by low scores on Sunday from Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley.
The pair are considered the best young openers in the country and could be promoted should Jason Roy’s lean run continue, but Sibley got a duck for Warwickshire against Somerset on Sunday and Crawley was dismissed for just five.
Although the identities of England’s batsmen have not changed, there is sure to be a discussion about the order. Of the top seven, only Rory Burns appears to indisputably be in his best position, with a variety of permutations possible for the others.
Roy averages just nine in his first five innings as a Test opener but made 72 when batting at number three against Ireland. Captain Joe Root is the incumbent at three, having moved himself up at the start of the series, but has previously spoken of his preference for batting one spot lower when leading the side and made 14 and nought at Lord’s.
Joe Denly has had three different positions in his first five Tests – used at opener, three and four – while the engine room of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow might also be rotated.