Finn replaces injured Wood in only England change
LONDON (Reuters) – Steven Finn has replaced injured fast bowling colleague Mark Wood in the only change to England’s squad for the fourth and final test against South Africa, starting on Friday at Old Trafford.
Toby Roland-Jones made his debut in the third test victory and was part of England’s pace attack alongside James Anderson and Stuart Broad, while Finn, whose last test appearance was in October last year, was added as standby for Wood.
Finn’s Middlesex team mate Roland-Jones took eight wickets, while fellow debutant Tom Westley, batting at number three, also shone with a 59 in the second innings as the hosts won by 239 runs on Monday to take a 2-1 series lead.
With the inclusion of Westley and another debutant batsman in Dawid Malan, England moved Moeen Ali down to number eight at The Oval but that could change in Manchester.
England coach Trevor Bayliss feels the side can cope with a batsman less as all-rounders Ben Stokes and Moeen have both contributed runs for England.
“I’m still of the view we don’t need more than seven batters,” Bayliss told Sky Sports.
“We’ve got three guys like Ben Stokes, (wicketkeeper) Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali who give us a lot of options, so on this occasion, we looked at the conditions, saw it was a bit green here and played the extra batsman.
“There wasn’t a great deal of spin, but that could be different somewhere else.”
Malan only scored 11 in his first match, while opening batsman Keaton Jennings’ spot has come under heavy scrutiny due to his lack of runs. Either of them could be cut if England opt to include second spinner Liam Dawson.
Squad: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, Joe Root (captain), Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Moeen Ali, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Liam Dawson, Steven Finn.