Moeen Ali has been left out of England’s 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s next week, with Jack Leach recalled in his place.
Injured bowlers James Anderson and Olly Stone are the others missing from the 14-man squad named for the opener at Edgbaston, which leaves Jofra Archer and Sam Curran in apparent competition for the final spot in the XI with Leach sure to replace Moeen.
Seven of England's team at Lord's will have first names beginning with J. That is too many imvho.
— Dave Tickner (@tickerscricket) August 9, 2019
Archer played for Sussex second XI this week in a bid to prove his fitness, taking six wickets and hitting a century on day one of a three-day match, while Curran has been in Vitality Blast action for Surrey.
With England naming just 12 players and no additional batsmen, Joe Denly appears certain to get another chance to prove himself at number four. Unless they just decide to have all-rounders from four to eight, which might not be the worst plan in fairness.
England squad for second Ashes Test at Lord’s: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.
“I think it was important that we bounced back strongly after Edgbaston and I think we’ve certainly done that.”
Jofra Archer has changed the mood if not the scoreline.
Steve Smith out, Marnus Labuschagne in.
Woakes enjoyed Archer v Smith just as much as the rest of us.
The marquee might read England v Australia, but we all know it’s Steve Smith v Jofra Archer
Thankfully, Smith appears to have suffered no lasting damage.
Olly Stone has been ruled out of the rest of the season with a partial lower back stress fracture.
It’ll take a superb spell of bowling or a shambolic batting collapse for either side to win from here.
Click to see Steve Smith’s ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ impression.
“I need more time to think, that’s the honest answer. It’s a big decision, it’s a big commitment.”