England have recalled fast bowler Steven Finn for the third Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston, captain Alastair Cook said yesterday.
Finn, who has taken 120 wickets in 33 Tests at an average of under 30 apiece, is set to replace the injured Ben Stokes.
All-rounder Stokes has been ruled out after damaging his calf in England’s 330-run win in the second Test at Old Trafford that levelled the four-match series at 1-1.
Cook said there was still a slim chance England could play two spinners, by giving a home debut to leg-break bowler Adil Rashid in support of off-spinner Moeen Ali, if there was a marked change in pitch conditions between Tuesday and today’s toss at Edgbaston.
But with rain falling from grey skies above Edgbaston yesterday, Cook indicated that England would likely go in with an attack of four seamers plus Ali.
England also had the option of selecting Nottinghamshire quick Jake Ball, who made his Test debut in Pakistan’s 75-run win in the series opener at Lord’s — Finn’s first wicketless Test.
Finn and Ball made way for James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, and Stokes at Old Trafford.
“Finny is coming in for Ben Stokes, and as we were,” Cook told reporters at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
“Unless the pitch changes a lot from what I saw yesterday (Monday) — we still have the right to change — we’ll be going with the four seamers and one spinner,” opening batsman Cook added.
“It was a tough call — as I found out at two o’clock (0100 GMT) this morning when I was wide awake thinking about it.”
“We’ve gone for a guy who’s got a proven Test record, who’s taken 120 wickets and has a knack of taking wickets,” said Cook of Finn.
Middlesex paceman Finn took a Test-best six for 79 against Australia at Edgbaston last year
“He has good memories here of last year,” said Cook. “He hasn’t quite been at his best this year — there have been a few factors in that, (but) physically he’s now better and has had a couple of things sorted out in the last week.”
“We all saw the other day down at Middlesex, playing Essex, that his pace is back up again.”
Cook added: “You could have argued for Jake, and telling him was a tough call, but we’ve gone for a guy who has a very good Test record — giving him another go.”
England team: Alastair Cook (capt), Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson.
England cricketer Steven Finn prepares to bowl in the nets during an indoor practice session at Edgbaston yesterday.