England have received a boost to their Ashes preparations after coach Trevor Bayliss revealed that fast-bowler Jake Ball is likely to be available for the first Test on 23 November.
Ball limped out of England’s second tour match, a 192-run win over a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide completed on Saturday, with ankle ligament damage, prompting selectors to summon Sussex youngster George Garton from the Lions squad as cover.
“He will be available for the first Test,” said Bayliss. “Whether we pick him or not, we have got to make that decision once we get closer. He should be right in that 7-10 day time frame, he’s fairly confident.”
Bayliss added that Ball could even have recovered in time for England’s final warm-up match, again against a Cricket Australia XI in Townsville on Wednesday, but would not be risked.
England Women keep Ashes bid alive
Captain Heather Knight and Georgia Elwiss batted through 62 overs to deny Australia and claim a vital draw in the only Test match of the Women’s Ashes series.
The draw at the North Sydney Oval kept alive English hopes of winning the multi-format series, although in order to do so the tourists must prevail in the three remaining Twenty20 clashes.