After an inspiring win at the Headingley, hosts England have made one change in personnel to their side for the fourth Test against Australia at Old Trafford. Fast bowler Craig Overton has replaced Chris Woakes in the England lineup. Overton was only drafted into the squad after veteran paceman James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, was ruled out from the series with a calf injury. The same injury has prevented Anderson from bowling in the series since his four-over spell in the first innings of Australia’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston. Overton comes into the side on the back of England’s stunning one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley, inspired by Ben Stokes’s superb 135 not out, that saw them square the five-match Ashes series at 1-1.
The 25-year-old Overton has played three Tests and bowled Australia star batsman Steve Smith on debut at Adelaide in December 2017. England captain Joe Root, explaining why Overton had been included, told reporters at Old Trafford during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday: “This ground does perform slightly differently with an extra bit of bounce and a taller bowler will give us an extra option to go to.
“I feel like that balances out our attack really well in these conditions.” Root added: “Craig is a competitor. You saw him come into Ashes cricket on debut and straight away he looked very much at home.
“He got himself in a battle and I expect him to do that this week. I expect him to cause some issues for the Aussie batters.”
Roy gets captain’s backing
Root also confirmed the switch of positions between Jason Roy and Joe Denly, with World Cup winner Roy dropping down to number four after struggling as a Test opener. “Jason is a high-quality player, we all know that, and he might be better suited at four,” Root said.
“I think to play in an Ashes series is very exciting and he was extremely excited to get the chance to open the batting, but I think that he might be better suited for the middle order on the evidence we have seen over the last three games.
“It’s a great opportunity for him to make it his own and we have seen him play enough international cricket to know what he can do when he gets himself in, so hopefully batting lower down allows him to do that.
“Joe (Denly) has played some good cricket throughout the summer, he has got himself in and he was very good in that second innings (at Headingley when he made a fifty).
“It’s a great opportunity for him to get us off to a good start with Rory (Burns).”