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Thursday, August 13

England

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Ed Smith explains reasons behind Test squad to face West Indies

:Headline: Ed Smith explains reasons behind Test squad to face West Indies: ID:405159: from db_amp
Dan Lawrence has emerged as a contender.

England have named a 13-man squad for their long-awaited return to Test cricket against the West Indies next week, preferring Joe Denly to the uncapped Dan Lawrence and confirming Dom Bess as number one spinner.

Selectors met at the conclusion of a three-day internal warm-up match on Friday and settled the few remaining questions over the shape of the side that will line up at the Ageas Bowl on Wednesday, as well as retaining a further nine reserve players.

Captain Joe Root was already absent from the bio-secure bubble in Southampton due to the impending birth of his second child, and another seven players who took part in this week's head-to-head match have been cut, including experienced duo Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali.

Five of the six batting slots were all but certain but there was some chance that Denly, a 34-year-old with a Test average of 30 in 14 appearances, would come under pressure from the exciting Lawrence.

Denly may yet need a score of substance to hold his spot for the rest of the series, with Root set to return for the two matches at Emirates Old Trafford later this month.

"What everyone has seen is that Joe has made lots and lots of good starts and lots and lots of good contributions to the team," said national selector Ed Smith.

Joe Denly (pictured) has held off the claims of Dan Lawrence (Mike Egerton/PA)

"As a top-order batter Joe would obviously love to convert those starts into hundreds and big hundreds – that goes for any batsman – but also it is fully understood that he has contributed to good team batting performances. The England team has been batting with more consistency and solidity throughout the order and Joe has been a big part of that."

Smith was guarded on how close 22-year-old Lawrence, a two-time county champion at Essex and a recent star of the England Lions side, came to a call.

"I wouldn't want to speculate about any one person," he said. "What I would say is that we are very excited to have the depth we do have."

That depth allows them to leave out Bairstow and Moeen, who boast 130 Test caps between them. While both would have preferred to regain their previous status as first-choice red-ball players, their omission from the standby list has more to do with their importance to the limited-overs team, which will operate as a completely separate entity this summer due to fixture congestion caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

"With Moeen and Johnny part of the calculation is obviously that they have been in the white-ball squad and been very good performers in white-ball cricket," added Smith.

"You know if they're not in the 11 here it's good that they're playing cricket in the white-ball team."

In the bowling ranks there are five strong seam options – James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes – of whom only three are likely to take the field in each match.

Bess, meanwhile, remains in possession of the slow bowling position. He was behind both Jack Leach and Moeen at the start of last summer, but the former's illness over the winter and the latter's hiatus from red-ball cricket brought an opportunity that he grasped and has not let go.

"Moeen being available is good news for the talent in the spin department but it's also the case that Dom did very well in South Africa," Smith said.

"We're glad that Moeen is available again but there's no change: Dom Bess is in possession, and Jack Leach takes the reserve spot."

Dom Bess has established himself as England's first-choice spinner (John Walton/PA)

Joining Leach and Lawrence in a strong standby list are wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, up-and-coming batsman James Bracey and a shadow seam attack comprising Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Olly Stone and Ollie Robinson.

The final name in the supporting cast is all-rounder Sam Curran, who might have made the main squad had a 24-hour coronavirus scare not curtailed his participation in this week's internal match.

"Sam's been unwell and that's something that was definitely taken into consideration," Smith noted.

"He's had an extraordinary start to his international career and he's someone who has swung games of cricket for England. We're excited to have him returning to full health."

England squad for the first #raisethebat Test against the West Indies: R Burns (Surrey), D Sibley (Warwickshire), J Denly (Kent), Z Crawley (Kent), B Stokes (Durham, capt), O Pope (Surrey), J Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), D Bess (Somerset), C Woakes (Warwickshire), J Archer (Sussex), M Wood (Durham), S Broad (Nottinghamshire), J Anderson (Lancashire).

amp_article_405159 : Database Data restored...  : 
last updated article - 2020-07-04 17:04:45:
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea392061369571266
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd391512124239357
9Arsenal381414105648856
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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