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Bairstow included in England squad for third Test

Jonny Bairstow has replaced Gary Ballance for the third Ashes Test against Australia in Birmingham.
Jonny Bairstow has replaced Gary Ballance for the third Ashes Test against Australia in Birmingham.
©REUTERS / Action Images

England selectors on Tuesday have announced a 13-man squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia which begins on 29th July in Birmingham.

Gary Ballance, who had a poor outing with just 98 runs in the four innings, has been the only player to be left out of the squad that featured in the first two games.

Ballance has been replaced by Jonathan Bairstow after the latter’s impressive performances in the county circuit for Yorkshire, which includes a match-winning unbeaten 219 against Durham.

The 25-year-old, who last featured in a Test match in January 2014 against Australia in Sydney, has 593 runs in the 14 games at an average of 26.95.

Explaining the decision to omit Ballance from the squad, National selector James Whitaker stated that the young left-hander needed a break to sort out his technical deficiencies.

Lauding Ballance’s skills as a player, Whitaker also maintained that the Yorkshire southpaw will remain part of England’s long-term plans.

“Gary was naturally disappointed to miss out on this occasion however we feel that he will benefit from some time in county cricket to rediscover his form,” said Whitaker.

“He has already had plenty of success at international level and as selectors we are confident Gary will play a significant role for England in the future.

The humiliating 405-run defeat to Australia at Lord’s leaves the five-match Ashes series evenly poised at 1-1 with a 10-day gap between the second and third Tests.

Whitaker feels that the lengthy gap will enable England to have a rethink over their probable strategies for the rest of the series and even hinted at some major changes in the batting order.

With a major reshuffle likely in the order, Whitaker expects Bairstow, who will be representing England in Tests after a year’s gap, to play a vital role in the current series.

“For the third Test Ian Bell will move up the order to bat at three followed by Joe Root with Jonny Bairstow coming in at five.

“Jonny has worked extremely hard at his game and his record for Yorkshire speaks for itself.

“He fully deserves this opportunity.

“The break ahead of the third Test will give the squad time to reflect on series so far and a chance to focus on playing the positive, confident cricket we saw in Cardiff. “

Three matches remain in the series and Whitaker is wary of the intense spirit that both teams are expected to show for the remainder of the series.

While expressing confidence at witnessing a hard fought series, Whitaker wished the England team well for the remaining matches.

“On behalf of the selectors I’d like to wish Alastair, Trevor and the squad all the very best for what will I’m sure be an entertaining and competitive Test next week.”

Meanwhile, opening batsman, Adam Lyth has been awarded an incremental contract, as he reached the eligible points of 20, having played four Tests.

England squad for the Third Test:

Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler (wk), Steven Finn, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood

© Cricket World 2015