England have named an unchanged 13-man squad for the second Ashes Test with Australia that begins at Lord’s on Thursday.
Alastair Cook’s team won a nerve-jangling first Test by 14 runs, with James Anderson proving to be the hero with 10 wickets in the match.
England’s other bowling options were short of their best at Trent Bridge, particularly Steven Finn who was targeted by Australia’s batsmen. Cook and coach Andy Flower are likely to ponder whether to stick with Finn or bring in either Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions.
“It was a fantastic start to the Investec Test series, with both sides showing a huge amount of skill and determination,” national selector Geoff Miller said.
“I would like to congratulate England on showing a great deal of composure to win by 14 runs.
“I have no doubt that the rest of the series will be equally compelling.”
Commenting on the Lord’s squad, Miller said: “We have selected the same squad for the Lord’s Test, because this continues to provide options for Alastair Cook and Andy Flower.”
Finn had a poor Test, taking match figures of 2 for 117 in 25 overs; the economy rate a particular concern on a surface where scoring became increasingly difficult as the match progressed.
It was a tight call between him and Bresnan in the first place before the selectors opted to retain faith in Finn who had been in the side throughout the five Tests against New Zealand. However, if Alastair Cook does not feel able to entrust Finn with a greater number of overs a change will be required so that the workload can be more evenly spread among England’s quicks with Bresnan the likeliest man to replace him.
Anderson had a gruelling five days at Trent Bridge, culminating in his marathon 13-over spell on the final day, and was forced to leave the field during Australia’s last-wicket stand. He returned to claim the matchwinning wicket after lunch and the official line was that Anderson only suffered cramp, but with just three days between games it will be a major test of his renowned fitness.
There remain concerns, too, over Stuart Broad who struggled with his right shoulder during the first half of the Trent Bridge Test after taking a blow from James Pattinson while batting although his performances improved markedly as the match wore on.
In hindsight, with the way the Trent Bridge surface developed, England may have preferred Bresnan’s skills to Finn. Not only can Bresnan bowl lengthy, tight spells but he is also another good exponent of reverse swing.
Bresnan’s Test record at Lord’s is unflattering with five wickets at 66 in three appearances, while Finn has impressive numbers on his homeground – 29 wickets at 20.65 from five Tests. The final decision could yet come down to the surface; if the hot weather means another baked, cracked pitch there would be further weight behind a recall for Bresnan whereas if it appears like it may carry through with good pace, there could be a temptation to retain Finn.
Onions remains the outside bet to come into the side although he does bowl very well to left handers. The initial expectation was that Graeme Swann would be the major threat to Australia’s left handers, but he was below his best at Trent Bridge and was played with relative ease by the likes of Ashton Agar and Pattinson.
England squad: AN Cook (capt), JE Root, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wkt), TT Bresnan, SCJ Broad, GP Swann, JM Anderson, G Onions, ST Finn.
- Ashes 2013: England names unchanged squad for second Test at Lord’s (abc.net.au)
- Same again for England (standard.co.uk)
- Ashes: Finn should be fin, and Bresnan should benefit (dailymaverick.co.za)
- Steven Finn gets vital backing from coach Andy Flower (thesun.co.uk)
- England not reliant on James Anderson, says Andy Flower (standard.co.uk)
- Ashes 2013: England select same squad for Test (chronicralph.wordpress.com)
- England name unchanged squad (espn.co.uk)
- The Ashs 2013: Steve Finn reprieved as England name unchanged squad for second Test with Australia (metro.co.uk)
- Confident England to go unchanged for 2nd Ashes Test (niticentral.com)
- Flower: England no one-man band (standard.co.uk)