England have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the deciding third Test against South Africa at The Oval, which starts on September 8. The series stands at 1-1 after the hosts leveled things in the second game at Old Trafford in Manchester.
South Africa began the series in style as they wrapped up an innings victory at Lord's. The Proteas bowled the home side out for 165 and 149 at the iconic venue to win by an innings and 12 runs inside three days. Kagiso Rabada claimed the Player of the Match award for picking up seven wickets, including a fifer in the first innings.
However, Ben Stokes & Co. bounced back to beat the visitors at Old Trafford. Led by centuries from Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes, England posted an insurmountable 415 in their only innings.
The hosts' seam-bowling unit was too much to handle for the Proteas as they slumped to 151 and 179 in the first and second innings, respectively, to lose by an innings and 85 runs.
England Cricket managing director backs Alex Lees and Zak Crawley for an extended run
Despite inconsistent displays from openers Alex Lees and Zak Crawley, England Cricket managing director Robert Key has thrown his weight behind the duo. Key underlined that the side lack players lining up to bat at the top, which is why Lees and Crawley have been given a proper run.
Key said during a lunch segment on Sky Sports during the second Test:
"There are not many people queuing up to bat at the top of the order, they all want to bat four, five or six. If there is ever a time when we have new opening batters or new players, they will know they will get the same amount of opportunity as these guys have done.
"We have spent 10 years since Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, trying to find an opening partnership and it is the toughest part of batting at the moment. We're going to give them a proper go."
Crawley, who had a wretched summer, scored a defiant 38 off 101 deliveries to lay a platform for England's steep total in the Old Trafford Test. Meanwhile, Lees has scored two half-centuries this summer.
England squad: Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes (wk), Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root.
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