England have named an unchanged squad for the first two Ashes Tests, with Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue included after an impressive debut against Ireland this week.
Tongue was initially called up as bowling cover ahead of the Ireland Test after James Anderson and Ollie Robinson suffered minor injuries in County Championship action.
However, the 25-year-old impressed sufficiently in nets to earn a first cap and was this morning one wicket away from claiming a maiden Test five-for as England closed on a comprehensive victory at Lord’s.
Tongue’s inclusion means England will take a 16-man squad to Edgbaston for the series opener, which starts on June 16, and then on to Lord’s for the Second Test a fortnight later.
With the batting lineup settled and Jack Leach the sole spinner, the only significant question over England’s XI to start the series lies in the makeup of their seam attack.
Neither Robinson nor Anderson were risked against Ireland, but are expected to be fit to face Australia, while Mark Wood is also available for selection, the quick sitting out this week’s match to manage his workload.
Tongue seems unlikely to feature in the First Test, as do Matthew Potts and Chris Woakes, the latter overlooked in favour of Tongue this week. However, Stuart Broad has provided selectors with a welcome headache after starting his summer with five-for as Ireland were bowled out for 172 in their first innings on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Australia batter David Warner has announced his intention to play through the Ashes and retire from Test cricket at home in Sydney next winter.
Warner is under pressure for his place at the top of the order and there have been suggestions he could even be dropped before the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston should he fail to make a score in next week’s World Test Championship final against India at the Oval.
The 36-year-old struggled badly during the last Ashes series in England, averaging less than 10 across five Tests and being dismissed by Stuart Broad seven times in 10 innings.
He says, however, that he is hoping to survive this summer’s series before playing his final Test against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground over the New Year and then going on to a white-ball farewell at next summer’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies and USA.
"I’ve always said the [2024 T20] World Cup will be my final game, but I think I probably owe it to myself and my family," Warner said. "If I can score runs here, continue to play back in Australia, I can definitely say I won’t be playing that West Indies [Test] series. If I get through this and I can make the Pakistan series, I will definitely finish up then.”
England squad for first two Ashes Tests
Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain
James Anderson (Lancashire)
Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Harry Brook (Yorkshire)
Zak Crawley (Kent)
Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Jack Leach (Somerset)
Ollie Pope (Surrey)
Matthew Potts (Durham)
Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Joe Root (Yorkshire)
Josh Tongue (Worcestershire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)