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The Ashes: England announce team for third Test with Mark Wood returning

England have announced their team for the must-win third Ashes Test against Australia, with Mark Wood, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes all returning to the side.

Wood was tipped to play in the second Test but wasn't quite fit enough, so Josh Tongue stepped in and impressed with five wickets. But having got through 42 challenging overs with the reintroduction of bodyline tactics, Tongue is rested and should return for the Old Trafford Test.

Ali also returns to the side having recovered from a finger injury, providing England with a frontline spinner that was absent for the second Test, with Ollie Pope ruled out of the series through injury and his inclusion could be a huge advantage for the hosts who are 2-0 down with three Tests to play, with Australia’s Nathan Lyon seemingly out for the series after injuring his calf.

It was initially thought Dan Lawrence would earn a Test recall, but a shake-up sees Harry Brook move up to #3 with Jonny Bairstow moving ahead of Stokes to 5 as former skipper Joe Root remains in his preferred #4. The Yorkshireman averages 39.67 at #3 compared to 52.78 at #4, though it will be Brook's first Test as a top-order batter.

Despite scoring 152 in his last County Championship outing for Essex, England have resisted calls to introduce Lawrence to the side, with the batter averaging just 29 in Tests. 

James Anderson struggled on the flat deck at Edgbaston in the first Test and had little more luck in the second and is replaced in a like-for-like change by Chris Woakes. 

The move to bring Woakes into the team arguably lengthens what was already a long English tail, though the Warwickshire man does have a respectable average of 27.91 with the bat which includes a 137* and six half centuries in 45 Tests.

Ollie Robinson has established himself as one of England’s most dependable bowlers, still averaging 21.71 from 18 Tests. But in spite of his bowling speeds typically being in the high 70s, his respectable 10 wickets in the first two Ashes Tests, sees the 29-year-old retain his place.

Moeen Ali also returns after England failed to name a frontline spinner in his absence at Lord’s after picking up a finger injury in the first Test. 

Jonny Bairstow retains the gloves with the selectors still overlooking Ben Foakes. While Bairstow’s keeping was improved in the second Test, his 26 runs and gormless stumping in the second innings – which may have cost England the match – means the pressure is still on the wicket-keeper.

Failure to win at Headingley will see Australia retain the Ashes, and the hosts are 8/5 to emerge victorious.

England team to face Australia:

Zak Crawley
Ben Duckett
Harry Brook
Joe Root
Jonny Bairstow
Ben Stokes
Moeen Ali
Chris Woakes
Mark Wood
Ollie Robinson
Stuart Broad

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