England make two changes for final Test

Published: Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 18:01 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

More images

England have made two changes to their team for Kevin Pietersen's debut Test as captain against South Africa, starting at The Oval on Thursday.

Ryan Sidebottom, England's leading wicket taker this year, is replaced by Stuart Broad for the fourth and final match of the series, while Steve Harmison comes in for former skipper Michael Vaughan, leaving no place for Ravi Bopara.

The decision to ignore Essex batsman Bopara as Vaughan's replacement means England have reverted to a five-man bowling attack, despite failing to score more than 250 in the first innings of the last two Tests.

Ian Bell has been promoted to his favoured number three position, while all-rounder Andrew Flintoff will bat at number six having played at seven in the two previous Tests.

It will be Harmison's first Test since the opening defeat against New Zealand in Hamilton last March, while Board is back after being rested at Edgbaston.

Tim Ambrose, picked at number eight at Headingley and number six at Edgbaston, once again has to move to number seven to accommodate the return of Flintoff at six.

After successive defeats at Headingley and Edgbaston handed South Africa the series, Pietersen's side have the chance to salvage some pride in south London and the new skipper is happy with the attacking line-up.

"I'm going to go with four fast bowlers and Monty (Panesar)," Pietersen said.

"I think it is an aggressive move, a positive move. We need to take 20 wickets in this Test - you need to take 20 in any Test - and I feel a lot more comfortable with four fast bowlers.

"We've given responsibility to the batters to score runs with Colly (Paul Collingwood) at five, Freddie (Andrew Flintoff) at six, Timmy (Ambrose) seven and Broad eight. I'm looking forward to getting started.

"I like Steve and what he brings to the team. He's had his ups and downs but I have a really good relationship with Steve.

"He seems as excited as anything and he had a bit of a bounce in his step.

"I like Steve in the side. Mooresy (coach Peter Moores) and I are singing from the same hymn sheet at the moment. It's all positive."

Pietersen said he and coach Moores had jointly decided on the final eleven.

He said that playing an extra bowler was "a positive move, an aggressive move" and that he wanted England to "get back to playing with a real amount of pride and passion".

His recipe for success was to play "my way, without fear and with confidence." He would tell his players: "Once you go over the white line just express yourself and do whatever you need to do to be successful. Trust your practice, trust your instincts and trust what you've done the day before or the week before. Just go out and do it."

Asked whether fear had crept into the England side, Pietersen said: "I think there has been a bit of that stuff, worrying about little things. The more you worry, the more you think about stuff instead of being a clear thinking person who does the simple things as good as you can do."

Pietersen said both Bell and Collingwood were eager to take on the responsibility of moving up the batting order, while Harmison was "buzzing" about the prospect of taking the new ball for England again.

Of the pressure of leading England, he said: "I've been under pressure ever since I came to England eight years ago, all day, every day, so hopefully I can deal with this."

Looking ahead to walking out for the pre-match toss with Graeme Smith, Pietersen said there were no longer any issues between himself and the South African captain.

"The start of my relationship with Smithy was interesting but there's been absolutely no problem (in this series). He's grown up, I've grown up and we're just playing cricket to the best of our abilities for our countries."


England: Kevin Pietersen (captain), Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook, Ian Bell, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Tim Ambrose, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar.

South Africa (probable): Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pak), Steve Davis (Aus). Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri).

Read more about: england, make, final
Write Comments