What are England’s choices for the 3rd Test of the Ashes?

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Updated: July 31, 2013

England are 2-0 up in the 2013 Ashes series, and the third test at Old Trafford starts tomorrow, the 1st August. Although there is no question that England have a fantastic chance to wrap up the series win with 2 tests still to go, there will be questions about who will be picked in the England side.

A lot will depend on the fitness of Kevin Pietersen. The star batsmen was unable to take the field in the last test due to a calf injury, and there are still ongoing concerns about whether he will be able to play. James Taylor, the Nottinghamshire batter who played 2 tests against South Africa last summer, has been included in the squad as a possible replacement for Pietersen, and it will be likely that he would play at number 6 in the batting order with Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow moving up one place each if he is picked.

James Taylor

Despite his previous failures with the bat in his past test experience, there will be no doubt on his ability as he went on to complete a glorious century in his county game immediately after his inclusion in the squad had been announced. He has scored 6,266 in first-class cricket at an average of 47, and seems a very decent replacement for Pietersen ahead of other possibilities such as Eoin Morgan and Nick Compton. Taylor may also get a chance in the side, if the form of Jonny Bairstow is put into question.

With Old Trafford being a likely pitch to spin, Monty Panesar has been brought in as a possible second spinner. Monty has an excellent test record with 164 wickets and is arguably the best cricket personality in the world. With his non-stop enthusiasm and constant desire to improve, he is a wonderful player to have in the squad and a big fan favourite. However, many fans will most likely be disappointed as it is unlikely that a second spinner will be drafted in. The selection committe will probably be unwilling to drop a seamer, and Joe Root has already proven himself to be a more than decent part-time spinner. Although, Panesar’s excellent average of 17 in tests when playing alongside Graeme Swann could be enough to see a home test return for my favourite cricketer.

Monty Panesar

Surrey paceman Chris Tremlett

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(who has only made one test appearance in the last 2 years) has also been drafted in, at the expense of Steven Finn and Graham Onions, and he could be chosen ahead of Tim Bresnan for the 3rd seamer role. Unfortunately, Finn’s poor performance in the 1st test was enough for him to already be dropped from the squad less than 2 weeks later. Tremlett’s return to fitness has been commended by many pundits and England will be confident that he can do some damage to the Australians if he is to be picked.

Chris Tremlett

Despite Taylor, Panesar and Tremlett’s inclusions in the squad, I believe that none of them will get into the side (if Pietersen is fit). England will not want to change the side that destroyed the Australians at Lords, and with no clear weak links in the side, and the team clearly on top in the Ashes series so far, why would they want too?

 

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