The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia (CA) have announced their squads for the fifth and final Ashes Test match, which begins on Thursday. The final test will be played at the Oval in London. England have made two changes to their squad while Australia have made just one change as they look to seal their dominance over the home side. Australia have retained the Ashes and lead the five-match series 2-1, with one game ending in a draw.
England have brought in Sam Curran and Chris Woakes in place of Jason Roy and Craig Overton. In the announcement on their website, the home side also highlighted that Ben Stokes, their summer's hero, will play only as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury. Joe Root, giving an explanation for dropping Roy said that he had to rebalance the squad since Stokes will not be bowling in the game.
Root said, “It’s always tough to leave guys out, but Stokesy obviously picked up a shoulder injury in the last game and won’t be able to bowl the overs we normally expect him to. With that, we’ve had to change the balance of the side, and Jason’s the unfortunate one to miss out. Jason’s had an opportunity to come in and play Test cricket, get a feel for it and it’s not quite gone how he would have liked. But I’m sure he’ll go away and work extremely hard and come back again."
Root also added that England will be going into the game to get maximum out of it since the result isn't only limited to the Ashes series, but also the Test Championship and that the result will play a part in the points in the future.
Australia, on the other hand, has recalled Mitchell Marsh to replace vice-captain Travis Head. Marsh will provide extra bowling cover in place of Head, who has averaged 27.28 in four Tests this English summer. Captain Tim Paine, announced a 12 man squad and gave an explantion on Wednesday for bringing in Marsh. He believes that the bowlers have had a heavy workload and the pitch conditions suggest that the bowlers will have to work harder, and thus bringing Marsh will ease the work load.
Paine said, "Looking at the conditions and the series being a long and tough one, we've kept the bowling group that was together for the last Test match. They've bowled a lot of overs and we feel that bringing Mitchell in will ease a little bit of the workload on them."
Paine said that he will announce the final 11 at the toss on Thursday. Paine also said that he is 'still 'hungry' and will look to finish the series with a win. "We have spoken a lot about it. We came here to win the Ashes, not just to retain it. Last week’s result was brilliant. We played very well. This Test is bigger than the last one. This is our grand final.”