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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Not tongue in cheek … England hope Josh Tongue can be slippery customer in second Australia Ashes clash

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London — Seamer Josh Tongue has replaced Moeen Ali in England’s team for the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s.

Spinning all-rounder Moeen suffered a burst blister on his right index finger in the narrow two-wicket defeat in the series opener at Edgbaston.

Worcestershire paceman Tongue, 25, is preferred to the express pace of Mark Wood — whose career has been blighted by injuries — for the match, which starts on Wednesday.

Seamer Chris Woakes and leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed were also overlooked in preference of Tongue, who impressed with a maiden five-wicket haul on his debut against Ireland earlier this month.

“We needed to get to Lord’s first and see what conditions we were faced with,” England captain Ben Stokes said on Tuesday.

“We wanted to play Mark Wood but we felt while he could definitely start the game, we felt an extra week of build-up and loading him would give him a better chance to play fully from Headingley (third Test) onwards.

“And we brought Tonguey into the team as a like-for-like with Woody. I’m looking forward to seeing Tonguey continue his great start he had against Ireland here.

“Me and Mark are great friends, we go back a long way…I spoke to him about how I’d want him to operate in this game and he was very honest with me. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to give what he’s known for throughout this Test match. So the decision was made to allow him to keep building his body up to give himself the best opportunity to go out from Leeds onwards to play a full part.”

Speaking about Moeen, Stokes added: “We turned up here and have seen a lot of grass on the wicket, it is a bit green.

“Traditionally Lord’s offers more for seamers and with how Mo’s finger has recovered, actually recovered really well, I thought we would get more with four seamers and went with Tongue.”

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Meanwhile all-rounder Stokes said he had suffered no adverse reaction from a longstanding knee problem after bowling at Edgbaston.

“Being able to bowl that longer spell on the last day was another confidence boost for me,” he said. “At the moment, things are looking good and hopefully I can play even more of a part with the ball in this game.”

England team for second Ashes Test at Lord’s:

Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Josh Tongue, James Anderson


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