England pick Ball for first Ashes Test

Pacer recovers in time from a sprained ankle he suffered in second warm-up match in Adelaide two weeks ago

Afp November 22, 2017

BRISBANE: Jake Ball has won England's fourth seamer spot for the Ashes Test series opener after being passed fit to play against Australia at the Gabba on Thursday.

Nottinghamshire's Ball, 26, won the only contentious place ahead of fellow seamer Craig Overton in the England line-up after three warm-up games.

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It will be Ball's fourth Test cap, but his first in an Ashes series, after his recovery from a sprained ankle suffered in England's second warm-up match in Adelaide two weeks ago.

"It wasn't an easy decision," skipper Joe Root told England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) official website on Wednesday. "Craig's come into the squad, and everything that's been asked of him he's done brilliantly well, but Jake has bowled well when he's had his opportunities on the tour."

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Root said Ball's adaptability to the Australian conditions had won him the nod. "I think the way he goes about things on these surfaces could be really challenging for the Australians," said Root. "He wouldn't be playing if not. He's worked really hard and done everything he can to make sure he's in top shape for this first Test."

Ball has bowled only 15.4 overs so far on the tour, while Overton, who has not played a Test, featured in all three of England's tour games, taking eight wickets.

England will finalise their batting order on the morning of the Test, with reports suggesting that all-rounder Moeen Ali is likely to move above wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to bat at number six.

First Test playing eleven:

Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes


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