Bowlers left to sweat by Cook for Ashes place

ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook knows he faces a tough selection dilemma against Australia today, but insists he will not let emotion get in the way of picking an attack capable of bowling his team into a 2-0 Ashes lead at Lord’s.

Following a narrow 14-run victory in last week’s first Test, Cook is weighing up whether to name an unchanged team that includes fast bowler Steven Finn, who endured a mediocre match at Trent Bridge, or opt to draft in either Tim Bresnan or Graham Onions as a replacement.

Middlesex man Finn boasts 29 dismissals in Test matches at Lord’s, compared with Onions’ 10 and just five for Bresnan. However, Cook insists there are several factors which will determine selection and he is prepared to be ruthless for the good of the team.

“You want players confident they’re going to get a good run. But on the other hand you always pick a side you think can win the Test and you do have to make tough decisions,” said the 28-year-old.

“I’d love to say the guys who play under me feel they’ve got my backing but you do have to take tough decisions for the good of the side.

“You need to look at the best balanced attack in the conditions available. We all know that you need 20 wickets to win a Test match. Sometimes there are different ways of going about that.”

Australia, who boast just four players in their squad with previous Test match experience at Lord’s, have no fresh injury worries.

However, captain Michael Clarke may opt to shake up his bowling attack, with Jackson Bird a potential replacement for Mitchell Starc, who was expensive at Trent Bridge, while Usman Kawaja could replace Ed Cowan, after the top-order batsman scored just 14 runs in two innings.