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Ball wins England Ashes pick after fitness battle

Brisbane, Nov 22 (AFP) Jake Ball has won England's fourth seamer spot for the Ashes Test series opener after being passed fit to play against Australia at the Gabba tomorrow.

Nottinghamshire's Ball, 26, won the only contentious place ahead of fellow seamer Craig Overton in the England line-up after three warm-up games.

It will be Ball's fourth Test cap, but his first in an Ashes series, after his recovery from a sprained ankle suffered in England's second warm-up match in Adelaide two weeks ago.

"It wasn't an easy decision," skipper Joe Root the official England website today.

"Craig's come into the squad, and everything that's been asked of him he's done brilliantly well, but Jake has bowled well when he's had his opportunities on the tour."

Root said Ball's adaptability to the Australian conditions had won him the nod.

"I think the way he goes about things on these surfaces could be really challenging for the Australians," Root said.

"He wouldn't be playing if not," Root added, when asked about Ball's fitness. "He's worked really hard and done everything he can to make sure he's in top shape for this first Test."

Ball has bowled only 15.4 overs so far on the tour, while Overton, who has not played a Test, featured in all three of England's tour games, taking eight wickets.

England will finalise their batting order on the morning of the Test, with reports suggesting that all-rounder Moeen Ali is likely to move above wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to bat at number six.

England - Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes

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