England have named an unchanged squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia at Headingley on Thursday.
James Anderson is making progress with his calf injury and will play for Lancashire second XI in a three-day match beginning on Tuesday. England say the 37-year-old will be assessed ‘on an ongoing basis’.
The two sides drew the second Test at Lord’s on Sunday, although Ashes holders Australia were given a scare by the England bowlers. Anderson, who is England’s leading Test wicket-taker, aggravated his calf injury during the first Test at Edgbaston, which Australia went on to win.
There is a longer gap between the third Test, which ends on 26 August, and the fourth at Old Trafford beginning on 4 September, which will give Anderson time to test his fitness.
Pace bowler Jofra Archer, who replaced Anderson at Lord’s, impressed on debut with some hostile spells and speeds of up to 96mph. Short presentational grey line Anderson bowled just four overs of the opening day of the Ashes and was unable to play any further part in the first Test.
Batsmen Jason Roy and Joe Denly both keep their places, despite their struggles with the bat in both Tests. Roy, opening the batting alongside Rory Burns, fell to a three-ball duck in the first innings and made just two in the second.
Denly took a superb catch on the final day to dismiss Australia captain Tim Paine but he was unconvincing in periods with the bat. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow seemed to find some form at Lord’s with scores of 52 and an unbeaten 30, and he kept well to Archer during his hostile spells.
Archer’s pace and hostility troubled Australia’s batsmen – Smith was ruled out of the remainder of the Test with concussion and is a doubt for Headingley, while his replacement Marnus Labuschagne was also struck in the grille.
Off-spinner Jack Leach, recalled in place of Moeen Ali for Lord’s, also bowled with control and took 3-37 on the dramatic final day. England have not lost a home Ashes series since 2001.
The second Test between England and Australia ended in a draw at Lord´s on Sunday. Australia, set an unlikely 267 to win in a minimum of 48 overs after England captain Joe Root´s declaration, finished on 154-6.
A draw always looked likely in a match that saw five whole sessions lost to rain and Australia´s Steve Smith ruled out with concussion on Sunday after being hit on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer during his innings of 92 on Saturday. Four wickets after tea gave England hope of what would have been a stunning win.
Ashes-holders Australia, bidding for their first Test series win away to England in 18 years, remain 1-0 up in the five-match campaign following their 251-run victory at Edgbaston last week.—Agencies