England have called up left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan and bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes for the final Test of the Ashes series at the Oval. Steven Finn also gets a recall, while Chris Tremlett, an unused squad member for the Tests at Old Trafford and Chester-le-street, is retained.
Kerrigan is yet to receive full international honours but has been in sparkling form for Lancashire this season, taking 47 wickets in the County Championship, and represented the second-string England Lions against Australia this week, picking up the wicket of David Warner. He did, however, receive some punishment from Shane Watson and ended with figures of 1-66.
He takes his place in the squad partly due to his own fine form and partly as a result of the well-documented personal problems suffered by fellow left-armer Monty Panesar, who was in the squad for the Old Trafford Test match. Kerrigan is shorter than Panesar and gives the ball more flight, a combination that has made him the leading spinner in county cricket this season.
With Tim Bresnan ruled out for the rest of the international season due to a stress fracture of the back and Graham Onions breaking a finger playing for Durham last week, the England selectors have left their options open in the pace bowling department.
Woakes offers a like-for-like replacement for Bresnan, who played a key role in England's superb final session on the fourth day to secure victory in Durham. The Warwickshire man has 26 wickets at an average of 21.5 this season as well as 385 runs at 42.7. Lower order batting has played a key role in the series thus far, with Bresnan himself scoring a crucial 45 on the final day at Chester-le-street, so Woakes, as a third seamer and number 8 batsman, provides an attractive option for the selectors.
The England management are also said to be desperate to get Tremlett back in an international shirt after his devastating performance on the last Ashes tour in Australia, with a view to utilising him in a similar manner this winter.
That said, Tremlett has not played a Test since the Pakistan series in the UAE in early 2012 due to injury and has hardly set the world alight on his return for Surrey this year. Tremlett is 32 next month and looks to have lost a yard of pace. He is averaging almost 40 with the ball for Surrey in the County Championship this year.
He does, however, have a number of factors in his favour. His height and steepling bounce caused the Australians great problems on the last tour, England's desire for continuity makes him the next cab off the rank after being in recent squads and the Oval is his home ground. Despite this, the track at the Oval historically helps spinners like Kerrigan more than tall quicks like Tremlett.
The final name in the mix is Steven Finn, who appeared at Trent Bridge but was dropped in favour of Bresnan at Lords. SInce being omitted, he has worked hard and took for wickets for Middlesex in a recent Championship match against Durham. After a year of confusion over the length of his run-up, he is another player England would like in good form and health before heading to Australia this winter. A recall at the Oval may be just the confidence boost that the youngster needs, having slightly gone off the boil in 2013 after such a promising start to his England career.
Besides the injured Bresnan, England are expected to stick with the same team who have played the last three Test matches. Questions about Kevin Pietersen's knee, which was scanned last week, appear to be purely precautionary and James Anderson, despite looking jaded at Durham, is likely to play as they look to their 3-0 series lead. Stuart Broad, Anderson and Pietersen are all likely to be rested for part of the ODI series against Australia next month.
Questions marks still hang over the place in the side of Jonny Bairstow, who has scored just 203 runs at 29 this series but will receive another chance at number 6 after showing a good deal of promise at times. The fine form of James Taylor and Gary Ballance provide alternatives this winter but Bairstow remains the man in possession of the shirt.
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