Some fairly interesting team news ahead of the final Ashes Test. The urn may be Australia’s but there’s still the very funny possibility of a thoroughly outplayed England team burgling a 2-2 series draw plus all those lovely, lovely World Test Championship points at stake so this is far from a dead rubber.
Ben Stokes’ sore shoulder has complicated things for England. He’ll play as a specialist batsman at number four at The Oval with Chris Woakes and Sam Curran both in the XI; Craig Overton and poor old Jason Roy make way. If you wanted to be cruel, you might say that England have strengthened both their batting and bowling. We’re far nicer than that here, though.
Australia, meanwhile, have had some fun of their own. Much like on the last day of term at primary school when you might take in Buckaroo or Super Cup Football, they’ve picked Mitchell Marsh. Boring, sensible old Travis Head makes way. Good times.
The Aussies have stopped just short of naming an XI, but from the remaining names on the list you can assume that Marsh is a definite starter with Peter Siddle an option to replace any one of the incumbent three-man pace attack. There’s no James Pattinson in the 12, and there must be at least some thought in the Australian camp to give Pat Cummins a well-earned rest. His injury history is well known, he’s the only Aussie quick to play all four Tests thus far, and he got through some serious work in Manchester.
England XI: Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad
Australia XII: David Warner, Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (capt, wk), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle.
England cricketer is at home recovering from injury.
The Australian head coach said the postponing of cricket gave his players a chance to take a break.
India is currently on lockdown.
The Sussex seamer was preparing for a PSL semi-final in Lahore last Sunday when news came through that Alex Hales had begun to experience symptoms.
The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has ripped the exhausting international calendar front to back.
Everton captain Seamus Coleman and manager Carlo Ancelotti have also been doing their bit to raise funds and boost spirits.
Coleman sent a video message to the people of Ireland after donating 20,000 euros to the Feed The Heroes campaign.
Had the coronavirus pandemic not struck, the England men’s team would currently be in Sri Lanka preparing for the second of two Test matches.
The county has closed its doors to the public but have made the offer in a bid to assist key local services.
Australia were involved in a ball-tampering scandal on March 24, 2018 during a tour of South Africa.