Friday 10 July, 2020

Archer and Anderson make England squad for first Ashes Test

Jofra Archer with the Cricket World Cup trophy.

Jofra Archer with the Cricket World Cup trophy.

Jofra Archer has earned a first Test call-up for England's Ashes opener against Australia, while James Anderson has also made a 14-man squad and is expected to be fit for the contest at Edgbaston.

Archer - a star of England's Cricket World Cup triumph - had been troubled by a sore left side, but returned for his county Sussex in a Twenty20 match on Friday and is now in line for a maiden Test cap.

The Barbados-born paceman only qualified for England in March but has quickly established himself as a potent weapon at international level and will hope to transfer his white-ball success to the five-day arena.

Anderson missed his country's victory over Ireland at Lord's this week as he continued his recovery from a calf tear sustained at the start of July, but England's record wicket-taker is anticipated to be available when the Ashes begins on Thursday.

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes also return to the squad after being rested for the Ireland fixture. Stokes has also been reappointed as vice-captain of the Test team in Buttler's place.

However, there is no place for spinner Jack Leach - the surprise batting hero at Lord's who made 92 as a nightwatchman against Ireland. Lewis Gregory - a non-playing member of the squad for that match - also misses out.

National selector Ed Smith said: "Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here. Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles.

"In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.

"The wider circumstances - a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series - are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection."

Australia named their 17-man squad on Friday, with Cameron Bancroft included for the first time since he served a ban for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.

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