England named unchanged XI for Oval Ashes finale


England have named an unchanged team for the fifth and final men’s Ashes Test at The Kia Oval, which starts on Thursday, with veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad both retaining their places.

The final day of the drawn fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford was wiped out by the Manchester rain, effectively giving England’s bowlers an extra day to recover. “Everyone’s pulled up well,” Ben Stokes, their captain, said. “Everyone is fit from the last game.

“It’s been a tough four games, to be honest. One little tiny positive we could take out of the rain was that the bowlers got a bit more rest. With a quick turnaround, you could see that as a tiny, tiny, little positive.”

Anderson turns 41 on the fourth day of the fifth Test but said in his newspaper column this week that he has had “no thoughts about retirement”. Stokes was unequivocal when asked about Anderson’s future in the England team.

“He’s quality,” he said. “It’s very hard for you guys to sit here and say he’s not. Although he’s not had the impact and the wickets he would have liked to, he’s a quality performer. James Anderson is the greatest fast bowler to play the game and he’s still looking as good as he was two years ago.”

Broad’s retention means that he will be the only England seamer to play all five Ashes Tests at the age of 37. “It was always going to be hard for one bowler to play every game this series but he’s been incredible for us,” Stokes said.

“He’s put some incredible performances in, and he’s also been very good at coming on and changing the game with the ball. Being leading wicket-taker, it’s very hard to look past someone like that.”

Chris Woakes and Mark Wood have also been declared fit and will play their third consecutive Tests, having come into the side for England’s win at Headingley.

More to follow…

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