England call up Plunkett, Footitt

2015-08-01 14:37
Liam Plunkett (AFP)

Birmingham - England have added pace bowlers Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt to a 14-man squad announced Saturday for next week's fourth Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge.

Yorkshire quick Plunkett, who played the last of his 13 Tests against India in July 2014, and uncapped Derbyshire left-armer Footitt were included after spearhead James Anderson was ruled out with a side injury suffered during England's eight-wicket win in the third Test at Edgbaston that put them 2-1 up in the five-match Ashes series.

"With James Anderson missing this Test through injury and some concerns over Mark Wood's workload in the build-up to the last Test, we felt that bringing in two extra bowlers in Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt was necessary," said national selector James Whitaker in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.

Anderson, England's most successful Test bowler with 413 wickets, took an Ashes-best six for 47 in the first innings at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground.

But Australia's second innings saw Anderson suffer a side strain which means he won't be in the team when the fourth Test begins across the Midlands at Nottingham's Trent Bridge on Thursday.

As well as calling up Plunkett -- who might have played for England earlier in the season but for being dropped for disciplinary reasons by Yorkshire and has since taken just five wickets in two matches -- and Footitt, England have also retained Durham fast bowler Mark Wood in their squad.

Wood missed the Edgbaston victory with an ankle injury, his absence paving the way for the recalled Steven Finn to take a Test-best six for 79 in Australia's second innings in what was the Middlesex fast bowler's first match at this level since 2013.

"The reports on Wood are positive at this stage and we are hopeful he'll be available for selection on Thursday," Whitaker added.

Footitt's inclusion came after the 29-year-old took 82 wickets at a miserly average of just over 19 apiece for Derbyshire in the Second Division of England's first-class County Championship last season.

His performances saw him called up into England's pre-Ashes training camp in Spain and England having seen the impact made by Australia's Mitchell Johnson, would like to have the variation of a left-arm quick in their attack.

But Footitt may have to wait for his chance behind Wood and Plunkett.

Meanwhile opener Adam Lyth was set to keep his place, despite averaging just 12 this series, after England decided against calling up any more specialist batsmen.

"The performance at Edgbaston this week was very encouraging, and it is important we build on that next week at Trent Bridge," said Whitaker.

Doing just that could prove a challenge to an England side who are officially the most inconsistent Test side of all time, having followed each of their three wins prior to their success at Edgbaston with a defeat since drawing their series opener against the West Indies in Antigua in April.

If they can follow-up a win at Edgbaston that was completed in under three days with victory at Trent Bridge, England would regain the Ashes with a match to spare.

But should their current trend continue, England will find themselves all square at 2-2 heading into the series finale at The Oval.

Trevor Bayliss, England's recently-installed Australian coach, said: "The way the boys are playing at the moment is very good.

"Obviously the challenge is to play as well two games in a row," the former Sri Lanka and New South Wales coach, speaking before the fourth Test squad was announced, added.

"Apart from the three or four experienced boys in this team, we have got a reasonably young team."

England's win at Edgbaston was all the more impressive given their mammoth 405-run loss to Australia in the second Test at Lord's.

"It's a good sign they're able to put that behind them, put it down to a bad performance, and they were very honest in the changing room afterwards," said Bayliss.

England fourth Test squad:

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Alastair Cook (Essex, captain), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Mark Wood (Durham), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Mark Footitt (Derbyshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire)

Read more on:    the ashes  |  cricket

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