Fast bowler Steven Finn will return to the England side for the third Test against Pakistan at Edgbaston.
Finn, 27, played in the first Test at Lord’s but was dropped for Old Trafford where England won to level the series.
However a calf injury to all-rounder Ben Stokes has led to Finn being recalled over seamer Jake Ball.
“Physically he’s sorted out and his pace is back up, which is when Steven Finn’s at his best,” captain Alastair Cook told BBC Radio 5 live.
“We’re backing a guy who hasn’t had the best summer but a couple of things have changed over the last few weeks.”
Finn, who is averaging almost 40 with the ball in first-class cricket this summer, took his best figures of 6-79 against Australia when England last played a Test at Edgbaston. However he struggled in his last five-day outing at Lord’s, where he failed to take a wicket.
“We’re giving him another go and I think sometimes, with selection going that way, people aren’t always looking over their shoulder all the time,” Cook continued.
“As a strength of English cricket, our seam bowling department is looking strong.”
‘England will miss Stokes’ character’
Stokes, 25, has made just two Test appearances this summer and has had three injuries in the past nine months that have kept him on the sidelines.
He made 38 runs and picked up two wickets at Old Trafford before being forced off the field with a calf problem.
“Stokes is that cricketer who plays on the edge, he drags a lot of people with him and that character will be missed,” Cook said.
“You want people to get on the front foot and Ben throughout his career has been able to do that. It’s more than just his runs and wickets that we’re missing.”
England’s middle-order struggles
Joe Root’s scores of 241 and 71 not out in the second Test, along with Cook’s first-innings century, masked some middle order worries for England.
James Vince, batting at four, has fallen to several loose shots while Gary Ballance has made a combined total of 72 runs in three innings in this series.
“It’s a situation we’ve found ourselves in over the past couple of years. We don’t have that strength in depth at the moment in batting,” Cook added.
“That’s one of the tough things about playing international cricket – you come in and straight away you’re under scrutiny, unless you get a score straight away.
“It is a very different game to playing county cricket so guys take time.”
Misbah keeps England guessing
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq refused to name his squad for Wednesday’s Test, instead preferring to keep the opposition guessing.
Misbah was the only Pakistan player to make a half-century in either innings at Old Trafford and the bowlers struggled on a hard pitch.
“I don’t want to let the other team know,” he said. “We know, our team knows and that’s the most important thing for us.
“If you look at the previous Test match, we let them score too heavily and once the opposition score 600 runs, it’s difficult to come back into the game.”
Pat Murphy, BBC Radio 5 live
“Alastair Cook admits it was a very difficult call to go for Steven Finn rather than Jake Ball, but Finn’s gradual improvement in form recently, after making some technical adjustments and his brilliant bowling against Australia last year, tipped the balance.
“The unsettled weather forecast for the rest of the week counted against Adil Rashid. He only has one available Test left – next week at The Oval – to show what he can do at the highest level before major challenges on the sub-continent this winter.”
What’s the weather forecast?
by Emma Boorman, BBC Weather
Wednesday: Should be dry for the vast majority of the day with some sunny spells, only the very outside chance of a shower. Windy.
Thursday: Sunshine and showers; more of a chance of the showers coming through on Thursday. Again though, with a brisk wind they shouldn’t last too long.
Friday: Another fine day with plenty of long sunny spells and much less of a breeze. Still the risk of a shower, though I suspect they will stay to the east.
Saturday: There is some uncertainty as we move into the weekend with a fairly deep area of low pressure developing to the north of the UK. But for Edgbaston I think Saturday should be mostly dry and after a sunny start it will turn cloudier through the day. The chance of any rain will increase later in the day as the cloud thickens from the west.
Sunday: Again there is high uncertainty here. But at this stage Sunday looks dry and bright with some sunny spells.
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