Josh Tongue will make his Ashes debut tomorrow at Lord’s with the seamer England’s only change for the second Test against Australia.
The 25-year-old seamer replaces spinner Moeen Ali as Ben Stokes’s side look to level the Ashes series at 1-1.
The England side is otherwise unchanged and will see a full-time bowling attack made up entirely of seamers – Tongue, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson.
Ashes need levelling
England lost the opening Test at Edgbaston by two wickets and head into today’s Lord’s Test at the Home of Cricket 1-0 down in the five-match series.
“We needed to get to Lord’s first and see what conditions we were faced with,” Stokes said on picking Tongue over Mark Wood.
“We wanted to play Wood [and] we felt that he could definitely start the game, but with conversations we felt the extra week with build-up and getting his loads up would give him a better chance and an opportunity to play a full part from Leeds (the third Test) onwards.
“We brought Josh Tongue into the team as a like-for-like [for] Woody, so I’m looking forward to seeing him continue on the great start he had against Ireland here.
“The only thing that’s different is that it’s a bigger occasion for him. He’s had his first Test match, he’s had his debut game which he’s had huge success from – so I think coming in and being able to use him as a fourth seamer role is something that I’m very looking forward to him being able to do. I think he’s really looking forward to the challenge as well.
“We turned up here and saw there was quite a bit of grass on the wicket, a bit of green. Traditionally Lord’s has offered more for the seamers and with how Mo’s finger was last week – it’s actually recovered really well – we thought we would get more out of our fourth bowler being Josh Tongue this week.”
Stokes in the attack
He will hope to have a better start to the Ashes than Anderson, who took just one wicket for 109 runs across the entirety of the Edgbaston Test.
Stokes could find himself doing a fair amount of the spin bowling – alongside Joe Root – due to the lack of a specialist, but the captain’s fitness has been somewhat uncertain with the Durham all-rounder carrying a recurring knee injury.
“I’ve recovered really well,” he said.
“Last week was a huge confidence boost for me. In all the build-up it was in a controlled environment around training without having to stand in the field or back days up. Being able to bowl that longer spell on the last day was another confidence boost for me.
“At the moment things are looking good and hopefully I can play even more of a part with the ball this game.”