Broad and Harmison recalled by England
Wednesday 06 August 2008
England have made two changes to their line-up for the final npower Test against South Africa starting tomorrow as they attempt to salvage some pride at The Oval.
Already without Michael Vaughan, who is taking a break from the game following his emotional resignation as captain on Sunday, England have also given left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom a break for the final Test of the summer.
But rather than recall Essex batsman Ravi Bopara for his first Test since last December as Vaughan's replacement, England have instead reverted to a five-man attack with Stuart Broad and Steve Harmison coming back into the line-up.
Ian Bell has been promoted to his favoured number three position, from where he averaged over 40 the last time he played in that role in Sri Lanka last year, while all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will bat at number six having played at seven in the two previous Tests he has played this summer.
It is a surprising line-up for Kevin Pietersen's first Test as captain as they attempt to halt South Africa's momentum following successive triumphs at Headingley and Edgbaston to wrap up the series with a Test to spare.
Broad has been recalled after being rested because of his workload for Edgbaston while Harmison plays his first Test since the opening defeat against New Zealand in Hamilton last March.
But it is the batting order which is expected to provoke the most debate with England deciding to field an extra bowler despite failing to score 250 in the first innings of both the last two Tests.
Tim Ambrose, picked at number eight at Headingley and number six at Edgbaston, once again has to move to number seven to accommodate the return of Flintoff at six - which is a change in policy from the Vaughan regime who always had their key all-rounder as a number seven.
Pietersen told reporters: "I'm going to go with four fast bowlers and Monty (Panesar).
"I think it is an aggressive move, a positive move. We need to take 20 wickets in this Test - you need to take 20 in any Test - and I feel a lot more comfortable with four fast bowlers.
"We've given responsibility to the batters to score runs with Colly (Paul Collingwood) at five, Freddie (Andrew Flintoff) at six, Timmy (Ambrose) seven and Broad eight.
"I'm looking forward to getting started."
As for Harmison, Pietersen said: "I like Steve and what he brings to the team. He's had his ups and downs but I have a really good relationship with Steve.
"He seems as excited as anything and he had a bit of a bounce in his step.
"I like Steve in the side. Mooresy (coach Peter Moores) and I are singing from the same hymn sheet at the moment. It's all positive."
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