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The Ashes: England announce team for fourth Test with James Anderson returning

England have announced their team for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford with James Anderson returning for Ollie Robinson.

The hosts finally got off the mark in the series at Headingley, and with a nine-day resting period, it’s created something of a headache for selectors.

Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett’s places look secured for the final two Tests, though the brief experiment with Harry Brook at #3 backfired, with the Yorkshireman returning to #5 where his innings went a long way to securing victory.

He will remain in the middle order with Joe Root at his preferred #4, but it created a hole to fill in Ollie Pope’s absence.

After Brook’s three runs in the first innings, Moeen Ali was moved up the order, but only managed to add 5 to the total, though the spinner remains at #3 for the Old Trafford Test.

It’s not an entirely unfamiliar position for Ali, who’d batted six previous Test innings at #3, but only averaged 14.50, compared to his career average of 27.82.

There have been increasing calls to drop wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow, who’s averaging just 23.50 this series – lower than Ben Foakes’ 32.20 over his Test career – while underperforming with the gloves.

But Foakes is still awaiting a call-up to the squad, meaning Bairstow keeps the gloves despite increasing scrutiny.

While Josh Tongue impressed at Lord’s, with no English bowler taking more than his five wickets over the two innings, he’s struggling to regain his place following Mark Wood’s Man of the Match display at Headingley.

Tongue is capable of bowling at 90mph, but Wood was reaching a frightening 95mph in Leeds, claiming a five-fer in the first innings, while chipping in with a crucial 40 runs in the match.

Lots of eye will be on James Anderson for his final Old Trafford Ashes Test. The Lancashire bowler had a tough time of things in the first two Tests and admitted that the pitches weren’t suited to him. 

While Robinson has had a steady series, taking 10 wickets at an average of 28.40, he suffered with back spasms preventing him from bowling in the third Test, and he was always likely to be the candidate to make way for Anderson.

The switch makes Stuart Broad the only bowler to feature in all four Tests, currently averaging 24.94 for his 16 wickets throughout the series.

The hosts must win the final two Tests to regain the Ashes and are slight favourites to win at Old Trafford at 13/10, and 4/1 to win the Ashes. 

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