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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
George Sessions

England set to make call over James Anderson after naming unchanged Ashes squad

PA Wire

England have named an unchanged squad for the final Ashes Test of the summer with a decision now required over James Anderson’s involvement at the Kia Oval.

The Manchester weather washed out play on Sunday and wrecked England’s hopes of setting up a winner-takes-all decider this week.

The draw means Australia have retained the urn with the series at 2-1 with one Test to play, but England will try to rally as a group and win in London to ensure a second successive home Ashes ends 2-2.

An unchanged 14-man squad has been selected for the fifth Test, which begins on Thursday, and all eyes will be on what England do with Anderson.

Veteran Anderson, who will turn 41 on Sunday, has struggled to take wickets throughout the series, picking up four scalps in three Tests at an average of 76.75.

He only claimed a solitary wicket in the drawn Old Trafford match and, after being rested for England’s victory at Headingley, the return to fitness of Ollie Robinson following a back spasm will leave captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum with a tough call to make in the capital.

If Anderson is left out at the Kia Oval, it could mean he has appeared in England whites for the last time with a decision required by the seamer and the selectors regarding his role over the next 12 months with central contracts set to be handed out later this year.

Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, who did struggle with stiffness towards the end of the Old Trafford Test, have impressed since being drafted into the XI while Stuart Broad is the leading wicket-taker in the whole Ashes.

Sussex seamer Robinson claimed 10 wickets in the first three Tests of the series and Josh Tongue caught the eye with his aggression in his one appearance against Australia at Lord’s.

England’s batting line-up is set to be unchanged with Moeen Ali to continue at three, but a call on Anderson and the other seamers will be made over the next two days.

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