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Overton replaces Woakes for fourth Ashes Test, Root backs ‘quality’ Roy

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Somerset paceman Craig Overton will replace Chris Woakes in England’s line-up for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, which starts on Wednesday.

Overton, 25, made his Test debut in December 2017 in the Ashes Down Under but has featured in only three Tests, claiming seven wickets at an average of 42.28.

England decided to draft the seamer into the squad after it was confirmed that their all-time leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson was ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes series with a calf injury. Overton has picked up 32 wickets in the 2019 County Championship, averaging 21.34 with the ball.

This is the sole change England have made to the winning XI that clinched the epic Headingley Test, where Ben Stokes, who hit an unbeaten 135, powered his side to an unlikely one-wicket win that denied the visitors an early chance of retaining the Ashes.

Ahead of the Manchester Test, England captain Joe Root also confirmed that Jason Roy and Joe Denly would be switching batting positions, with Roy moving down to No.4 and Denly partnering Rory Burns at the top.

“Jason is a high-quality player, we all know that, and he might be better suited at four,” said Root at the pre-match press conference in Manchester. “I think to play in an Ashes series is very exciting and he was extremely excited to get the chance to open the batting but I think that he might be better suited for the middle order on the evidence we have seen over the last three games.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to make it his own and we have seen him play enough international cricket to know what he can do when he gets himself in, so hopefully batting lower down allows him to do that. Joe has played some good cricket throughout the summer, he has got himself in and he was very good in that second innings [at Headingley]. It’s a great opportunity for him to get us off to a good start with Rory.”

Stokes’ brilliant effort at Headingley levelled the Ashes series at 1-1 with two Tests remaining.

England’s XI v Australia, 4th Test:  Rory Burns, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Jos Buttler, Craig Overton, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach.

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