James Anderson has been recalled to the England squad © Getty Images
James Anderson has been recalled to the England squad © Getty Images

Nottingham: James Anderson could yet feature in the Ashes series finale after being included in a 14-man England squad named Sunday for this month’s fifth Test against Australia at The Oval. Anderson, England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker, had to miss the fourth match of the series at Trent Bridge with a side strain suffered during the team’s eight-wicket win in the third Test at Edgbaston. But England still crushed Australia by an innings and 78 runs in Nottingham on Saturday to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series, with just the match at The Oval, starting on August 20, to come. Stuart Broad, Anderson’s longtime new-ball partner, took eight for 15 on his Nottinghamshire home ground as Australia were dismissed for just 60 in 111 balls on the opening day — the shortest completed first innings of a match in the 138-year history of Test cricket.

When Anderson injured himself in Birmingham, there were fears he might be sidelined from the remainder of the series. And with England now in an unbeatable position in the series, it has been argued that they don’t need to risk their prize asset in a ‘dead’ match. It was a point acknowledged by England national selector James Whitaker who said Sunday that Anderson, who has replaced uncapped left-arm seamer Mark Footitt in the squad, would not be rushed back into the side.

“James Anderson is continuing to improve and, with 10 days to go before the Test, may be able to play a part at the Oval — although with the series won, we will not be taking any chances given the cricket we have in the coming months,” Whitaker said in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.  Meanwhile Whitaker hailed the way in which England had bounced back from their 5-0 series loss in Australia in 2013/14. “Regaining the Ashes is a superb achievement and is down to 18 months of hard work from the players and coaches and support from a lot of people since the last series in Australia,” he said.

England fifth Test squad:

Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Mark Wood (Durham), Steven Finn (Middlesex), James Anderson (Lancashire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire).