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The Ashes

England face Anderson call after naming unchanged squad for Ashes finale



Photo: James Anderson

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England are set to make a decision over veteran paceman James Anderson's place in the side after naming an unchanged squad for this week's final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval.

Rain at the England great's Old Trafford home ground washed out all of Sunday's play and condemned the fourth Test to a draw.

That ensured holders Australia, 2-1 ahead with one to play, retained the Ashes and wrecked any chance of a winner-takes-all decider in London.

But an England win would square the series at 2-2 -- the same result as when they last staged the Ashes in 2019 -- and deny Australia a much longed for first away Ashes campaign triumph in 22 years.

England named an unchanged 14-man squad on Monday, with the spotlight on whether Anderson will still be in their XI come Thursday's opening day at The Oval.

Anderson's 689 Test wickets are the most taken by any fast bowler, with only spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Shane Warne (708) ahead of him in the all-time list.

But in the current series Anderson, who turns 41 on Sunday, has taken just four wickets in three Tests at a hugely expensive average of 76.75 apiece.

He took just the one wicket at Old Trafford after being rested for England's win in the third Test at Headingley.

But with Ollie Robinson fit following a back spasm and novice international fast bowler Josh Tongue also in the squad, England do have alternative options.

Mark Wood and Chris Woakes, who struggled with stiffness near the end of the fourth Test, have impressed since being recalled into the side, while Stuart Broad is the leading wicket-taker in the whole Ashes.

If Anderson is left out at the The Oval, it could mean he has made the last appearance of his celebrated Test career, with England handing out their latest round of central contracts before the end of this year.

England's batting line-up is set to be unchanged after six of the top seven all made at least fifty in a total of 592 at Old Trafford.

England squad for fifth Ashes Test: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wkt), Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, Josh Tongue, Dan Lawrence