Last Updated: 24/08/22 4:15pm
England have recalled Ollie Robinson in place of fellow seamer Matthew Potts for the second LV= Insurance Test against South Africa at Emirates Old Trafford.
England are 1-0 down in the three-match series after losing the opening Test at Lord’s last week by an innings and 12 runs inside three days.
Robinson will now make his first Test appearance since the final Ashes fixture in Hobart in January, when his fitness was publicly called into question by England bowling coach Jon Lewis.
The 28-year-old has been hampered by injury and illness since then.
Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Ben Foakes (wicketkeeper), Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, James Anderson
Robinson for Potts is the only change to the England side from the hammering in London with Zak Crawley retaining his place despite averaging below 17 in 10 Test innings this summer with a top-score of 46.
Speaking at his press conference in Manchester on Wednesday, England captain Ben Stokes said of Robinson: “When you look at what Ollie possesses as a bowler, one of his real key assets is how much extra bounce he gets compared to other bowlers in our squad.
“We think here at Old Trafford, with it being a slightly quicker wicket than other grounds we play at, it obviously offers a lot more bounce.”
South Africa captain Dean Elgar on Ollie Robinson
Robinson missed the three Tests against West Indies in March with a back spasm and was then left out of the home series against New Zealand earlier this summer.
However, after overcoming his back issue and a bout of Covid-19, Robinson claimed nine wickets in Sussex’s County Championship fixture with Nottinghamshire in late July and then five wickets as England Lions beat South Africa in Canterbury earlier this month.
In that game in Kent, Robinson dismissed Rassie van der Dussen and Sarel Erwee twice each and South Africa skipper Dean Elgar once.
Robinson has picked up 39 wickets in nine Tests to date, at an average of 21.28 and with best figures of 5-65 against India at Headingley last summer.
Ben Stokes on Ollie Robinson
Stokes added: “We all know the quality of bowler Ollie is because when he has played for England before his skillset is incredible.
“Against South Africa for the Lions, he bowled long spells, three or four spells in a day, and took wickets as well.
“I am very excited for him to put the England shirt on again. It’s something he has worked very hard for and thoroughly deserves.
“Ollie’s form wasn’t letting him down, it was his body and that is a tough thing to deal with. But, where he is now, I think he can look back on that and use it as something to gain experience from.
August 25, 2022, 10:00am
“He is here with the team and playing this week so everything that has gone on in the past is something he has grown from. He has learnt a lot as a person and a player.
“I stayed in contact with him quite a lot through the period and told him whatever team he plays for is lucky to have him because of what he possesses as a bowler.
“I let him know exactly where I stand. That enabled him to go away and work on what has been asked of him. All I can say is he’s done that to the absolute extreme. He’s worked hard behind the scenes.”
Durham seamer Potts has claimed 20 wickets in five Tests since debuting for England earlier this summer, with the 23-year-old bagging 2-79 from 20 overs in South Africa’s sole innings at Lord’s last week.
Stokes praised the manner in which Potts accepted being left out.
The skipper added: “It is tough for Matty [Potts] to miss out but what he has done in five games is taken himself from a county cricketer with a lot of promise and really announced himself on the big stage.
“You also have to give him a lot of credit to handle the decision so professionally at such a young age. I think that is a real indication of where we are at as a team at the moment.
“The selection was based around what we thought was the best bowling attack to suit this particular ground and he completely understood that.
“For a 23-year-old to completely understand the bigger picture of what we are trying to achieve and not throw his toys out of the pram was something that shouldn’t be overlooked.”
England’s batters lasted a combined 82.4 overs at Lord’s, rolled for 165 in their first innings before crumpling to 149 all out in their second.
The heavy defeat in the capital was England’s first since Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum took up their roles earlier this summer, with the team having swept to a 3-0 series win over New Zealand and then beaten India in the rearranged fifth Test.
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Stokes added: “What we have learnt from ourselves is that you can’t always go out there and perform how you want to perform.
“The address after the game was, ‘look, lads, you have obviously not performed anywhere near the capabilities we want to and we know we can, but it’s not something that we are going to take backward steps from’.
“South Africa were better than us in that Test, that’s fine, that’s sport. Sport is set up for someone to be a winner and someone to be a loser. We are focussing on this game and the next and want to win the series 2-1.”
If South Africa win in Manchester, they will secure a first Test series victory over England, either home or away, since 2012, when they triumphed 2-0 in England under the captaincy of Graeme Smith.
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Current Proteas skipper Dean Elgar said: “We know it’s going to be a lot tougher. England were hurt [by what happened at Lord’s] and I know they are coming back with vengeance against us. The scoreboard is on nought again now, we have to start again.
“What happened in the first Test was something pretty amazing for us. Our hunger was up there and our hunger is still there. That’s not going anywhere and we’re driving a hard message on that.
“It’s difficult to read the future. I really wish I could, but I really hope the second Test goes the same way as the first.
“Our bowlers are leading our pack at the moment and are extremely hungry for success. I reckon they can get much better. They had a brilliant game and they’re still pretty fresh, which is nice for my part.
“If there’s going to be extra pace and bounce, I’m pretty sure our fast bowlers are going to get that out of the wicket.”
Watch day one of the second LV= Insurance Test between England and South Africa, from Emirates Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports The Hundred from Thursday. Build-up starts at 10am ahead of the first ball at 11am.
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