Defiant England stick with unchanged squad
England made a surprise move for the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval by standing by their players for the final Test
Sam Ferris in London
9 September 2019, 08:34 PM AEST
England have named an unchanged 13-player squad for the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval where they will be hoping to deny Australia a historic series win.
Seam-bowling allrounders Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, the two squad members who did not play at Old Trafford, will come into consideration for the series finale if Ben Stokes is unable to bowl.
Stokes hurt his right shoulder in Australia's first innings in Manchester and did not bowl in the tourists' second innings.
He will be assessed over the coming days but will play as a specialist batter if he is unfit to bowl.
If that is the case, one of Woakes or Curran is then expected to play, with a batter to drop out of the XI.
Only two batters –Stokes (59) and Rory Burns (40.37) – are averaging more than 31 this series, with captain Joe Root (30.87), Joe Denly (25.5), Jonny Bairstow (25.42), Jos Buttler (16.25) and Jason Roy (13.75) struggling to counter Australia's impressive all-round bowling attack.
Australia retained the Ashes in Manchester with an 185-run win in the last hour of the match, and a win or draw in London would see Tim Paine's side become the first Australian men's team to win the Ashes on English soil since 2001.
While the Ashes might be gone, Root said there is still plenty to play for at The Oval, including World Test Championship points.
"I know the Ashes are not coming back but in terms of the Test Championship at the end of the two year cycle those points could be crucial," Root said in the wake of the fourth Test defeat.
"You never want to lose an Ashes series. Every game against Australia matters.
"Turning up at the Oval and putting in a strong performance to win the game is crucial for this group."
England have made it no secret they have spent the past four years focusing on one-day cricket in order to win the World Cup on home soil, which they did in spectacular fashion in July.
While the ODI team has soared, England's Test team has stuttered in the same period, but Root was quick to quash any notion the World Cup focus has led to the Ashes staying with the Australians.
"You turn up to an Ashes series and you put everything you can into it, you leave everything out on the field. Everyone has done that.
"At times we have not been at our absolute best.
"We have played a very good side that has performed well in these conditions.
"Look at the Test matches and there have been times when one guy has made a difference and that has probably cost us the urn this time around."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Craig Overton, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia won by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: Match drawn at Lord's
Third Test: England won by one wicket at Headingley
Fourth Test: Australia won by 185 runs at Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval