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Ashes

Overton in frame for Test debut

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

England have named Craig Overton in a 12-man squad for the Adelaide Test.

Joe Root will announce the final XI at the toss on Saturday afternoon and rookie Somerset seamer Overton is in with a good chance of replacing Jake Ball.

Unlike Ball, who sustained an ankle sprain during a warm-up match earlier in the tour, Overton completed the full round of preparation games before Ball’s quick recovery saw him recalled for the first Test.

Ball endured a thankless time of things in Brisbane; as the fourth seamer on an unresponsive wicket he was called upon to attack with short-pitched bowling that did little for his economy-rate, which ended up at 4.27. He did, however, pick up the prized wicket of David Warner in the first innings.

Moeen Ali missed the first two warm-up matches with injury

The day/night Test in Adelaide will offer more assistance for his style of bowling and he might well  feel aggrieved at missing the opportunity.

Overton, who took 46 Championship wickets at 22.39 in 2017, is a similar bowling option to Ball, but with more to offer with the bat – albeit that he made three consecutive ducks during the warm-up matches. He has been backed for selection by Wisden columnist David Lloyd.

England’s preparations for the match have been hampered by the cut to Moeen Ali’s finger picked up during the Brisbane Test, meaning he was unable to bowl in the nets until Friday. That follows a period out of the side due to a side strain early in the tour, leaving his bowling – he has previously said he requires overs under the belt to find his rhythm – underprepared.

That led to speculation that rookie leg-spinner Mason Crane might be called upon to cover spin bowling duties but he has not been named in the 12-man squad for what is expected to be a Test dominated by the fast bowlers.

Play in the inaugural day/night Ashes Test is set to get underway at 3.30am UK time.

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