England call on Moeen Ali, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes for third Ashes Test

By Sports Desk July 05, 2023

England have rung the changes as they seek to keep the Ashes alive in this week’s third Test at Headingley, with three alterations to the XI and a promotion for Harry Brook.

Brook is slated to step up to number three in place of Ollie Pope, whose summer is over due to a dislocated shoulder, while Moeen Ali, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes all return to the bowling attack.

With just three days between games, record wicket-taker James Anderson is rested after two modest performances, with Josh Tongue also stood down after an encouraging outing at Lord’s.

At 2-0 down with three to play, England are in now-or-never territory and have opted to overhaul not just the personnel, but the balance of their side.

While they are effectively one specialist batter down in Pope’s absence, the addition of Moeen and Woakes strengthens the lower order in response.

Wood’s belated introduction into the series – he was considered for last week’s second Test but there were some concerns over his workload – also gives England skipper Ben Stokes the express pace option he has been craving.

Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson top the wicket charts with 11 and 10 respectively, but England have been outmatched for air speed so far and Wood’s ability to hit up to 96mph gives Stokes a new weapon to unsettle the tourists.

Woakes makes his first appearance of the ‘Bazball’ era and Moeen is back in action after a badly-blistered right index finger saw him miss out at Lord’s.

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    Ollie Pope saluted "lucky charm" Aaron Ramsdale following his impressive century against West Indies.

    Pope struck 121 from 165 deliveries at Trent Bridge as England began the second Test of their series against the Windies in dominant fashion.

    Arsenal goalkeeper Ramsdale was a guest of Gunners fan Pope on Thursday, having also watched his double century against Ireland last year.

    And after his sixth Test century helped England to 416 all out, the 26-year-old feels Ramsdale, who was part of the Three Lions squad that reached the Euro 2024 final, is a lucky omen.

    "He messaged me last night and I managed to sort him a couple of tickets. He can come more often," Pope said.

    "I'm obviously a big Arsenal fan, so I go to support him a fair bit. He seems to be my lucky charm on the cricket pitch as well."

    Pope opened 2024 with a superb 196 against India in Hyderabad, but scored over 30 just once in the subsequent four Tests of the tour, while a contribution of 63 was his best for Surrey in this season's County Championship.

    The 26-year-old was left questioning his ability, but highlighted the influence of England batting coach Marcus Trescothick on his upturn in fortunes in this series.

    "I wouldn’t say I had doubts," Pope added, "but I was thinking: 'why is everyone else in the country scoring runs in county cricket, but England's number three isn't going out and averaging 50?'

    "[Marcus] came to London, and we did some really good work, which has put me in really good stead for the Test summer."

  • Potter 'ready' for management return and salutes Southgate amid England links Potter 'ready' for management return and salutes Southgate amid England links

    Graham Potter says he feels "really ready, really excited" to return to football management, but would not comment on speculation linking him with the vacant England job.

    The former Chelsea boss has not been out of work since leaving the Blues in April 2023 after just seven months in charge at Stamford Bridge.

    Potter began his professional management career with Swedish side Ostersund, who he guided from the fourth tier into the top flight and Europa League during his seven-year spell.

    The former defender then spent a season with Swansea City, before a successful three-year stint with Brighton and Hove Albion.

    Speaking at Leeds Beckett University, where he was receiving an honorary doctorate, Potter revealed his desire to get back in the dugout.

    "Now, I'm in that good place where I'm happy to be ready and looking forward to the next challenge," he told Sky Sports.

    "I've had a great break. The journey from where I started to where I finished doesn't come for free. It involves moving to three countries, with a young family, and all that comes with being a football manager.

    "It was important for me to take a break, reflect and re-energise. It's been a good time to look at other things, other sports, other teams and visit places.

    "I feel really ready, really excited to be back when the right opportunity comes."

    Potter is one of several names linked with replacing Gareth Southgate, who resigned as England's head coach following their Euro 2024 final heartbreak against Spain.

    While the 49-year-old refused to discuss the possibility of him taking over the reins, he paid tribute to the outgoing Three Lions boss, who led them to successive European Championship finals and a World Cup semi-final during his eight-year spell.

    "Today is not the day to speak about [the England vacancy]," he added. "I'm proud of the job Gareth Southgate did.

    "As an Englishman in football, I don't think there's anybody who has more respect than he has; how he conducted himself, him and his staff, qualifying for tournaments, going deep into tournaments, getting the country behind the team.

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  • Pope leads the way as England surpass 400 on tough first day for Windies Pope leads the way as England surpass 400 on tough first day for Windies

    To say West Indies were put to the sword might sound cliche, but that is exactly what transpired on day one of their second Test against England at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

    Much like West Indies batsmen had no response to Gus Atkinson's precision in the first Test at Lord's, the Caribbean side's bowlers did little to slow England's batting onslaught on this occasion, though it was not for a lack of trying. This, as several chances were squandered in the field, and England rode their wave of fortune to post a daunting 416 all out.

    Ollie Pope, who was dropped twice on 46 and 54 by Jason Holder and Alick Athanaze, plundered 121 from 165 deliveries. His knock, which had 15 boundaries and a solitary six, was backed by Ben Duckett's 59-ball 71 and captain Ben Stokes, who made 69.

    Alzarri Joseph got three for 98, as Kavem Hodge (2-44), Jayden Seales (2-90), and Kevin Sinclair (2-73), a late addition for Gudakesh Motie, who woke up feeling ill, picked up the other wickets.

    With the batsmen having done their part, the England bowlers will be basking in the prospects of possibly ending this contest within three days and taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

    Scores: England 416 all out (88.3 overs)

    After winning the toss, West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was optimistic of an improved bowling performance, and he would have relished his decision when Alzarri Joseph removed Zak Crawley with the third ball of the innings. However, Pope and Duckett pelted the boundary in a 105-run second wicket stand, but that was eventually broken when Shamar Joseph had the latter caught by Holder, who took four catches in total.

    Joe Root (14) and Harry Brook (36) had brief stays in the middle, but Stokes and Pope added a further 80 runs for the fifth wicket to keep West Indies pinned against the proverbial ropes.

    Pope was inevitably removed by Alzarri Joseph with England at 281-5, while Stokes' entertaining knock was ended by Kavem Hodge.

    Jamie Smith (36) and Chris Woakes (37) chipped in with quickfire scores too, with Shoaib Bashir's dismissal in the final over of play bookending a fantastic first day for England.

    Data Debrief: Speedy Duckett into the history books

    Duckett needed just 32 deliveries to reach a half-century, as he kept up a pace mostly seen in T20Is.

    It is the third-quickest 50 for England in their Test history, with Duckett drawing level with Ian Botham's effort against New Zealand in 1986. 

    Jonny Bairstow is second on that list (30 v New Zealand in 2022), with the legendary Botham leading the way (28 v India in 1981).

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