Tremlett tempts England with control and pace

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The Independent Online

Chris Tremlett's impressive international debut will test the fibre of England's selectors this morning when they pick their team for today's day/night encounter against Australia at the Riverside.

Over the last five years the selectors have taken pride in their continuity. England's players now feel they will be given a decent run when they are picked for the first time, and this policy is one of the reasons Michael Vaughan's side has become a tight, close unit.

Jon Lewis has done little wrong. The Gloucestershire seamer took 4 for 24 in England's Twenty20 win over Australia at the Rose Bowl, and he followed this up with 3 for 32 against Bangladesh on his international debut. But in England's last two matches against Australia and Bangladesh he has been given some tap, and his 15 overs of medium pace have conceded 92 runs.

These performances would not normally lead to a player being axed, but at Trent Bridge on Tuesday it was clear that Tremlett is a bowler with far greater potential than Lewis. The Hampshire paceman took 4 for 32 against Bangladesh, but these figures are not the only reason England supporters should feel excited.

Bounce, accuracy and pace are a fast bowler's most lethal weapons. They keep a batsman honest and allow a bowler to be competitive on all surfaces. The best bowlers of recent times - Glenn McGrath, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Shaun Pollock and Steve Harmison - have all three. And, potentially, so does Tremlett.

At Trent Bridge, the 23-year-old bowled with reasonable pace - 84 mph - and control, and extracted steep bounce from a lively pitch. These attributes almost allowed him to claim a hat-trick.

And it is these qualities that could cause Australia's imposing batting line-up problems this evening, and throughout the remaining games in the NatWest series. Yet despite this, the selectors will probably give Lewis one last chance.

Darren Gough will return and Ashley Giles can expect to keep his place. England's only other dilemma surrounds Vaughan. The England captain limped off with a groin strain against Bangladesh after falling awkwardly in the field. With England virtually guaranteed a place in the NatWest series final at Lord's on 2 July, there seems little point in Vaughan playing today, his absence giving Vikram Solanki the chance to bat at the top of the order.

Australia look set to make two changes to the team that lost to England in Bristol. Brett Lee has recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out of Australia's two defeats at the weekend and is likely to replace the expensive Michael Kasprowicz.

Andrew Symonds can expect to regain his place after serving a two-match disciplinary ban. The destructive all-rounder should replace Shane Watson.

NatWest Series (Today, The Riverside) ENGLAND (probable): M E Trescothick (Somerset, capt), A J Strauss (Middlesex), V S Solanki (Worcestershire), P D Collingwood (Durham), A Flintoff (Lancashire), K P Pietersen (Hampshire), G O Jones (Kent, wkt), A F Giles (Warwickshire), J Lewis (Gloucestershire), D Gough (Essex), S J Harmison (Durham).

AUSTRALIA (probable): R Ponting (capt), A C Gilchrist (wkt), M L Hayden, D R Martyn, M J Clarke, M E K Hussey, A Symonds, G B Hogg, B Lee, J N Gillespie, G D McGrath.