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Jake Ball will be the fourth member of England’s seam attack when the Ashes starts in Brisbane on Thursday. Ball, the Nottinghamshire seamer, won selection ahead of Craig Overton. The England team management felt Ball’s extra pace and ability to extract bounce will be an advantage on the hard Australian pitches.
While injury limited Ball to only 22 deliveries in first-class cricket on the tour – he sprained his ankle in the warm-up game in Adelaide – he impressed in his limited opportunities. He also proved his fitness by taking on a heavy workload in the nets and fielding for a few sessions as a substitute fielder in Townsville. He bowled 17 overs at full pace on Saturday. This will be his fourth Test, meaning he is one of four men in the England side to have played fewer than 10 Tests.
Overton, who is yet to play international cricket, performed pretty well with the ball in the warm-up games but failed to exploit any advantage he might have had as a batsman. A player good enough to have scored a first-class century, Overton has been dismissed for a duck in all three innings he has played on tour.
While the XI has not yet been named publically, the team was informed of the selection at training on Wednesday afternoon in Brisbane.
England are also set to change their batting line-up. While Jonny Bairstow batted at No. 6 and Moeen Ali at No. 7 in the last warm-up game, they will swap places for this Test. The team management felt that Bairstow was better at batting with the tail – and England’s last three represents an unusually long tail by their standards in recent times – while the increased responsibility may benefit Moeen.
More to follow…
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo