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August 11, 2019

Moeen axed, Leach comes in for England

Sports

August 11, 2019

LONDON: England have dropped Moeen Ali from their squad to face Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, with Somerset’s left-arm spinner Jack Leach called up in his place.

James Anderson and Olly Stone also miss out on the 12-man group through injury, as England attempt to fight back from 1-0 down in the series.

Moeen endured a difficult time in the opening Test at Edgbaston, taking three wickets at a cost of 172 runs to go with scores of 0 and 4; he was dismissed by Nathan Lyon in both innings, extending the off-spinner’s mastery over him to nine of his last 11 dismissals against Australia.

England seem set to hand a Test debut to Jofra Archer, who was included in the squad for the first Test but was left out as a precaution while he continued to work back to full fitness after a side strain suffered during the World Cup. He played for Sussex 2nd XI in a three-day game this week, taking 7 for 106 and scoring a century to prove his readiness.

The other option to replace Anderson, who suffered a recurrence of his calf injury after bowling four overs at Edgbaston, is Sam Curran. The left-armer has played 10 Test, most recently for Ireland’s visit to Lord’s last month.

Despite coming into the Ashes as the leading Test wicket-taker in the world over the last year, Moeen’s form had suffered a dip at the World Cup, where he lost his place in the starting XI after defeat to Australia in the group stage.

His place is likely to be taken by Leach, who was England’s spinner for the four-day Test against Ireland — winning Man of the Match for his 92 as night-watchman, having only been required to bowl three overs.

While Moeen has been a valuable contributor for England since his debut in 2014, his career has not been without its ups and downs.

England squad: Joe Root (captain), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes.