Ashes 2017/18: England Confirm Playing XI for Melbourne Test

Updated - 25 Dec 2017, 03:18 PM

Joe Root England Australia Melbourne Test
England's cricket captain Joe Root speaks during a press conference after training at the MCG in Melbourne on December 25, 2017. Australia play England in the fourth Ashes Test match starting December 26. / AFP PHOTO / William WEST / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

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England has roped in debutant pacer, Tom Curran for the Boxing Day Test in place of an injured Craig Overton, who had impressed in the series.

Overton suffered a rib fracture during the third Test but continued to bowl despite the injury,

“Sometimes as a captain, you have to go with your gut and he (Curran) really hit home with me this week,” the visiting skipper told reporters on Christmas Day. It wasn’t an easy decision. We certainly (spent) a while thinking about it, trying to weigh up what was the going to be the best way to go about it in these conditions and on this surface. For the balance of the team, I think Tom was the best option. He does get the ball to move around a little bit. He’s always in the contest,” said England skipper, Joe Root.

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Root also confirmed they had a thought in mind to include Mark Wood or Mason Crane in the playing XI. Wood is not the part of the Ashes squad officially but was there with the team during the third Test. He bowled to batsmen in the nets so as prepare them for the Perth game. Wood was a part of England Lions squad earlier.

Crane was in line to play the second Test of the series after there was doubt over the participation of Moeen Ali. However, the all-rounder was declared fit, and there was no Test debut for Crane.

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(Photo by Philip Brown/Getty Images)

Curran, who will make his debut, had played one ODI and three T20Is. He made his ODI debut against the Windies while his sole T20I appearance came against South Africa – both this year. He was not the part of the side earlier and was only called in after an injury to Steven Finn, who himself replaced Ben Stokes before.

England had already conceded the Ashes series by 3-0 and only hope to salvage some pride on tour. The absence of Mitchell Starc from Aussie camp will give them some ray of hope, but the challenge will continue to test the poms.

Boxing Day Test starts on December 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne.

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Joe Root Tom Curran