England ring the changes ahead of Old Trafford Test

July 19, 2016

The England cricket selectors have brought back three players for the squad for the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford, following the defeat at Lord's. 

James Anderson, Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid are back for a match that will take place on a pitch expected to provide both pace and bounce for the quicker bowlers, but also lots of help for the spinners. 

Anderson and Stokes played against each other in Lancashire's county match against Durham at Southport, with both being withdrawn by the England and Wales Cricket Board midway through the match to get them ready for the Test. Anderson, who has recovered from a shoulder injury, bowled 22 overs and took three wickets for 58 runs while Stokes, who had not bowled since suffering a torn knee cartilage during the Headingley Test against Sri Lanka in May, picked up a wicket when he bowled. 

They could take their place in the side in place of the out-of-form Steven Finn and Lord's debutant Jake Ball, who have both been included in the 14-man squad for Manchester, despite Ball suffering some tightness in his thigh. 

However, England may look to field a second slow bowler and legspinner Adil Rashid will hope he can make an impact on the ground where the most famous leg-spun delivery in Test history - Shane Warne's magic ball to Mike Gatting in 1993 - was bowled. Rashid played in the three Tests against Pakistan in the UAE last winter before having a spell in Australia's Big Bash competition. 

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Edgbaston Test later this month will hope England can level the series, to set up a potentially thrilling third Test.

Pakistan may seek to be unchanged for a match at a venue where they have endured mixed fortunes down the years. They won there in 2001, but were hammered by an innings in three days in 2006 when exposed to a pitch with serious pace and bounce and a rampant Steve Harmison. 

Indeed, England's recent record against Asian sides at the venue has been excellent, with the bounce catching out batsmen unused to such pitches. India and Bangladesh also lost by an innings in three days on their last visits.

By Alex Brundell  


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