The Ashes: Lyth remains in squad, three in frame to replace Anderson
England (2/1 with Coral for victory at Trent Bridge) fans will be delighted after edging closer to regaining the Ashes urn from Australia (5/4) after their dominant 8-wicket win in the third Test at Edgbaston to go 2-1 up.
However, one massive hindrance to their team is that star bowler and record Test wicket-taker James Anderson has been ruled out due to a side injury, meaning one of three players will be hoping to take his place.
Ahead of the penultimate match of the series at Trent Bridge, England’s selectors have announced a 14-man squad, with Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt all vying for the final place in the starting XI.
National selector James Whitaker said: “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.
“The reports on Wood are positive at this stage and we are hopeful he’ll be available for selection on Thursday.
“Congratulations to Liam and Mark Footitt on their selection, and on behalf of the selectors I’d like to wish Alastair [Cook] and Trevor [Bayliss] all the very best for the fourth Test.
“The performance at Edgbaston this week was very encouraging and it is important we build on that next week at Trent Bridge.”
Head coach Bayliss, meanwhile, will certainly have been pleased with how well his new team fought back from the crushing 405-run loss at Lord’s, but has stated he wants more consistency.
England are on course to lose the next battle at Trent Bridge, going by their form in their last seven Test this summer matches, as they have alternated between winning and losing.
“We are playing very well at the moment but the challenge is to play like that two games in a row,” said Bayliss.
“It is good they can put Lord’s behind them and put it down to a bad performance. They were disappointed and a little embarrassed in the way they played.
“To move forward you have to be honest with yourself and admit your mistakes and they certainly were after that game at Lord’s. They showed in this match what they are capable of.
“We have a few extra days off now,” Bayliss added. “You get halfway through a series like this and there are always a few little niggles with batters and bowlers, so it will be good to give those an extra couple of days’ rest.”
One way of trying to stay consistent is by sticking to the same team. Although it is unavoidable to replace injured Anderson, Bayliss has seemingly decided to keep Adam Lyth in his XI, despite the Yorkshire opener managing just 72 runs in his six innings this series so far.
Whatever the reason, no one will mind if he takes this last chance opportunity and England win, and thus reclaim the Ashes (8/11 odds-on favourites to do so).
England’s Ashes 4th Test squad:
Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Mark Footitt, Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood.