England have dropped out-of-form opener Dom Sibley for the third Test against India at Emerald Headingley and have included Dawid Malan in a 15-man squad after going 1-0 down in the series.
Sibley, who has scored one Test fifty in his last 15 innings and averages 28.94 overall, has been axed after making 11 and a duck in the second Test – which England lost by 151 runs after slumping to 120 all out on day five.
Yorkshire batsman Malan returns to the Test squad for the first time in three years – his most recent appearance coming in England’s victory over India at Edgbaston.
The 33-year-old scored 199 in his only red-ball appearance for his county this season but returns to the five-day fold averaging just 27.84 in his 15 caps.
England vs India
August 25, 2021, 10:00am
Malan’s inclusion means Haseeb Hameed, who scored a duck and nine at Lord’s in what was his first Test for over five years, is likely to open with Rory Burns who has bagged five ducks in his last six Tests.
The Surrey left-hander gets another chance after following up scores of 132 and 81 against New Zealand earlier this year with 49 against India at Trent Bridge.
Zak Crawley, dropped for the second Test after a year of poor form, exits the squad entirely as does Somerset spinner Jack Leach who will return to Taunton but remains on standby as back-up to Moeen Ali.
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“The Test series is beautifully poised, and we are relishing the prospect of aiming to bounce back at Emerald Headingley next week,” said England men’s head coach Chris Silverwood.
“Dawid Malan deserves his opportunity in the Test arena. He has a lot of experience across all formats and, if called upon, I am confident that he can come and do well on his home ground. In the limited time he has played first-class cricket this season, he has shown what he is capable of, scoring a highly-accomplished 199 for Yorkshire against Sussex at Headingley in June.
“Zak Crawley will return to Kent to galvanise the excellent work he did last week in the nets at Lord’s with assistant coach Graham Thorpe. Zak is still a massive part of our plans moving forward, but we feel he would benefit from time outside the pressure of international competition to get some time working on his skills. He has a bright future and I do not doubt that his time will come again in the Test arena.
“Dom Sibley needs some time away to regain his confidence after a challenging period. He will return to Warwickshire to spend time in the middle without the scrutiny and find some rhythm and confidence. Dom offers a lot of value to the Test environment and some time away should help him. However, he remains part of our plans.
“Jack Leach will return to Somerset to get some game time. I have been impressed with his patience and it’s not easy living under the Covid protocols, especially when you’re not playing. However, he has regained his confidence and spark, and it has been a considerable asset having him around. He will be on standby should we need his services, but we want what is best for him and playing cricket and getting overs into him is the way to go.
“We are hopeful that Mark Wood will be fit after injuring his right shoulder in the first Test. Our medical team will be working with him each day. We will monitor where he is at when we get to Leeds.
“We also have the services of Saqib Mahmood, who has been brilliant across all formats this summer. He is confident, highly-skilled and will not be overawed if he is to make his Test debut. His temperament and attitude are suited to the international arena.”
England Men’s Third Test Squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Haseeb Hameed (Nottinghamshire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Dawid Malan (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Mark Wood (Durham)
Watch day one of the third Test between England and India live on Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event from 10am on Wednesday August 25.
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