Monday, 15 July 2019

England play it safe with Lord’s line-up after clinching ODI series

england-CRICEKT

LONDON: England will rest Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali as injury precautions in the final Royal London Series match against South Africa at Lord’s today and have brought Steven Finn, Toby Roland-Jones and Liam Dawson into their squad. It is understood there is no significant concern as yet about the availability of any of the first-choice trio for England’s opening Champions Trophy match against Bangladesh at The Oval.

Key all-rounder Stokes, who hit his second one-day international century as England took an unassailable 2-0 series lead over South Africa at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, has managed to bowl only five overs in two matches this past week. It is expected he will have a second round of scans – probably tomorrow – to establish the cause of pain in his left knee, after initial checks proved inconclusive, but indicated no recurrence of the injury that required surgery 12 months ago.

Frontline seamer Woakes was a surprise absentee at the weekend, having felt muscle tightness in his right thigh, and will play no part as England seek to complete a series clean sweep at Lord’s. Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen will also be missing because of a groin niggle.

There may be an unexpected opportunity, therefore, for either Finn or the uncapped Roland-Jones on their home ground, or for slow left-armer Dawson to add to his solitary ODI appearance to date on the back of his eight-wicket match haul in the Specsavers Division One victory sealed by Hampshire over Somerset at Taunton yesterday. Finn returned to England’s one-day international fold on the successful tour of the West Indies two months ago, taking four wickets in that 3-0 series victory.

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