After a string of low-key returns, James Anderson will play amid questions about his future.
England has chosen an unchanged lineup for the fifth and final men’s Ashes Test,
England has chosen an unchanged lineup for the fifth and final men’s Ashes Test, which begins on Thursday at The Kia Oval, with veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad both keeping their spots.
The rain wiped off the final day of the drawn fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford, thus giving England’s bowlers an extra day to recover. “Everyone’s pulled up well,” their captain, Ben Stokes, said. “Everyone is in good shape from the previous game.”
“It’s been a difficult four games.” The bowlers received a little more respite as a result of the weather, which is a minor plus. It’s an odd one to look at from that perspective. But with the tight turnaround and the game we have here, knowing what we need to achieve, you could look at that as a tiny, tiny little positive, though it’s difficult to call it that.”
Anderson turns 41 on the fourth day of the fifth Test, but he claimed this week in his newspaper column that he has “no thoughts about retirement.” When asked about Anderson’s future with the England team, Stokes was unequivocal: “He’s quality, man.” It’s difficult for you to sit here and claim he isn’t.
“Although he hasn’t had the impact or wickets he’d like in this series, he’s a quality bowler and performer.” Jimmy has taken some heat for it, but if Joe [Root] hadn’t scored as many runs as he would have liked, you wouldn’t be questioning his status as a batter.
“James Anderson is the greatest fast bowler in history, and he’s still looking as good as he did two years ago, despite not having the impact he would have liked in this series.”
Broad’s retention means that, at the age of 37, he will be the only England seamer to play all five Ashes Tests. “It was always going to be difficult for one bowler to play every game this series,” Stokes explained.
“He’s put in some incredible performances throughout the Test matches, but he’s also been very good at coming on with the ball and changing the game numerous times, which he’s done his entire career.”
“He’s the leading wicket-taker, and it’s difficult to overlook someone like that.” At 37 years old, that demonstrates how much work he puts in off the field to continue representing England on the field.”
Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have also been pronounced fit to play their third successive Tests after being called up for England’s victory at Headingley.
Stokes acknowledged he felt “pretty flat” following the downpour in Manchester. “I’ve never left a game, a field, pretty emotionless,” he added. “It was a strange sensation.” The weather played a role in how the game ended. You look back and wonder, ‘Do you wish we’d gotten beaten?’ Or if we’d played and Australia had pulled off a draw.
“When you can’t do anything, we leave the ground.” It’s an odd place to be. It makes you feel really strange. When they shake hands at the end, you can feel it from both sides, emotionless. Australia won the Ashes, which we couldn’t reclaim, but it was an odd experience… It had a rather flat sensation, but we got rid of it and are ready for this week.”
Despite their dominance at Old Trafford, he believes England will have to “start all over again” at The Oval. “It’s a new game, and things can play out differently,” Stokes remarked. “We just need to go out there and apply the same amount of pressure to Australia that we have throughout this series.”
“I thought the way we did it at Old Trafford left Australia with no answer, especially when we had the bat in hand.” It was fantastic to watch the lads go about their business with the bat. But it’s the same old thing: a whole different game, and we’ll have to start from scratch.”
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