Roland-Jones to make Eng­land Test de­but

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Mid­dle­sex pace­man Toby RolandJones will make his Eng­land Test de­but against South Africa to­day af­ter Mark Wood was ruled out with in­jury. Durham fast bowler Wood missed Wed­nes­day’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion for the third Test with an on­go­ing heel prob­lem that had trou­bled him in Eng­land’s 340-run de­feat by South Africa in the sec­ond Test, a re­sult that saw the Proteas level the four-match se­ries at 1-1.

“Wood is not 100 per­cent fit so he’s go­ing to miss out this week and Toby RolandJones comes in for a de­but,” Eng­land cap­tain Joe Root told a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day ahead of the clash at The Oval.

Roland-Jones’s Mid­dle­sex col­league Steven Finn, a vet­eran of 36 Tests, has been called up as stand by in the event of any fur­ther in­juries to Eng­land’s pace at­tack. The 29-year-old Roland-Jones has twice been in­cluded in Test squads for matches at his Lord’s home ground but will now make his de­but in the five-day game on the other side of Lon­don’s River Thames at Sur­rey’s head­quar­ters.

Roland-Jones did, how­ever, make his one-day in­ter­na­tional de­but against South Africa at Lord’s in May, tak­ing one for 34 in a match Eng­land lost by seven wick­ets. He played a key role in help­ing Mid­dle­sex win last sea­son’s County Cham­pi­onship and his Test call is a re­ward for sev­eral years of con­sis­tent per­for­mance in the English first­class game. “Toby has been, in the lead up to the other games, re­ally good in prac­tice and he has ob­vi­ously had a fine cou­ple of years and it is a very ex­cit­ing time, as it is for any­one who makes their Test de­but,” Root said yes­ter­day.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited for him and I’m sure he’s des­per­ate to show ev­ery­one what he can do with the red ball for Eng­land.” Wood’s ca­reer has been blighted by in­juries, with a suc­ces­sion of an­kle prob­lems re­strict­ing the 27year-old to just 10 Tests since his de­but against New Zealand in 2015.

Root, how­ever, was con­fi­dent the worst was be­hind Wood amid fears the bowler may be ex­ces­sively in­jury-prone. “I don’t think it’s a con­cern, it is the na­ture of how he throws him­self into his work,” the York­shire­man ex­plained.

“I think he is learn­ing about his body all the time and I can’t see him miss­ing out too much longer,” Root added. Eng­land will now field at least two debu­tants in what will be the 100th Test ever staged at The Oval, with Es­sex bats­man Tom West­ley pre­vi­ously se­lected in place of in­jured num­ber three Gary Bal­lance.


And they may in­clude a third if Mid­dle­sex bats­man Dawid Malan, born in Lon­don but brought up in South Africa, is in­cluded in­stead of left-arm spin­ner Liam Daw­son. Eng­land’s top-or­der was twice dis­missed cheaply at Trent Bridge, in­clud­ing for a mere 133 in their sec­ond in­nings.

That led to Malan’s call-up, with the 29year-old hav­ing al­ready made a match-win­ning 78 for against South Africa dur­ing his Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional de­but at Cardiff last month. Eng­land al­ready have a front­line spin­ner in Moeen Ali, a bet­ter bats­man than Daw­son.

Root said a de­ci­sion on whether to play Malan or Daw­son would wait un­til to­day morn­ing. “I’ll have a look at the wicket to­mor­row and de­cide what is hap­pen­ing then,” he said. Sev­eral for­mer Eng­land cap­tains crit­i­cised Root’s men for the way they were bowled out twice in­side 100 overs at Not­ting­ham.—AFP

LON­DON: Eng­land’s Ben Stokes (2L) and Eng­land’s Stu­art Broad (2R) play with a foot­ball dur­ing the Eng­land cricket team’s train­ing ses­sion at The Oval cricket ground in south Lon­don yes­ter­day, prior to the start of the third and fi­nal Test match against the vis­it­ing South Africans. — AFP

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