Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, and Moeen Ali will start for England in the third Ashes Test on Thursday at Headingley instead of James Anderson, Josh Tongue, and the injured Ollie Pope.
The starting lineup was announced just before England captain Ben Stokes spoke to the media at Headingley. His team needs to win to start overcoming a 2-0 deficit after losses at Edgbaston and Lord’s.
Anderson’s shift was the most anticipated of the three. In his eighth Ashes campaign, he has only taken three wickets at an unimpressive average of 75.33. After labeling the Edgbaston pitch as his “kryptonite,” England’s short-ball strategy at Lord’s also deviated from his favored swing-bowling techniques.
He makes room for Chris Woakes, whose record of 94 wickets at 22.63 in England makes him the apparent like-for-like replacement despite not having played a home Test since September 2021. Pope, whose injured right shoulder has prevented him from playing this summer, is out of the lineup, but Chris Woakes’ batting prowess—he averages 35.25 at home and has hit 105 half-centuries—comes in handy after England played an abnormally long tail at Lord’s.
Stokes said, “We’re certainly devastated for Popey. “As vice-captain, it’s a real shame not only for us but also for him in such a big series. He’s been a huge part of what we’ve managed to achieve over the last 18 months.”
With Essex’s Dan Lawrence the only backup option in their squad, Moeen’s return gives the lower-middle order more stability, which is another reason why England chose not to replace Pope with a different batter. Despite having a quiet series thus far, Harry Brook has been given Pope’s position at No. 3. However, Stokes acknowledged that his workload as an all-rounder – including a taxing 12-over session in the second innings at Lord’s – has increased. been a major factor in adding more bowling alternatives to the side.
There were a few additional factors to take into account, but Dan was undoubtedly on the roster as the next hitter, according to Stokes. In the worst-case scenario, which team would be the best if I didn’t bowl a ball in this game? “I’m not going to lie, last week took it out of me a little bit. That doesn’t mean I
Although Brook has scored 132 runs at an average of 33 in the series’ first four innings, he has drawn criticism for a soft dismissal at Lord’s after reaching his half-century. Stokes, however, said that his promotion to 3 – and Bairstow’s to No.5, the position he filled in his remarkable run of form in 2022 – had been “pretty simple” decisions.
“Last summer, Brookie was in the squad and was the next player in, and when you’ve got a player like Brookie, from one to six, he would have come in in any position,” Stokes said. “We feel that Brookie is the type of player who will just take the responsibility and just crack on with it.
“We want to keep Joe [Root] at four because he’s a remarkable player, and Jonny moving up to five was just to get him into the game earlier. The things he did last summer from the No.5 position are quite hard to look past.”