England mull crucial call on pace berth

It’s rare to win a Test before tea on day three, rarer still to then be saddled with a selection conundrum that could shape the series.

But that’s exactly the situation confronting England, who will be without all-time leading wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson for the fourth Ashes Test.

Anderson claimed 6-47, his best haul against Australia, on day one of the third Test to put the hosts on track for a comfortable victory.

His absence at Trent Bridge, scene of some of his greatest performances, will be dearly felt when the fourth Test starts on Thursday.

Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt were named in England’s squad in place of Anderson, who has a side strain, however, Mark Wood is expected to earn a recall if fit.

The hosts must also settle on a new-ball partner for Stuart Broad, with Wood tipped to be preferred ahead of Steve Finn.

Finn’s express pace and towering bounce troubled Australia at Edgbaston, but it’s understood the hosts want to keep him as a first-change strike weapon.

Coach Trevor Bayliss will be guided by locals as to what his XI should be at Trent Bridge.

“It’s a ground I haven’t been to much, so, from that point of view, I’ll be listening to the local judges,” Bayliss said.

“I’ll have to go by what the other selectors think.

“I’d like to see Mark Wood take the new ball … we’ll just have to wait and see who ends up in the XI.”

Regardless, there is a sense of solace in the Australian camp.

“Injuries happen in sport. It’s unfortunate,” batting coach Michael Di Venuto said.

“There’s going to be a different bowler, come Trent Bridge, opening the bowling than what we’ve faced in the first three.

“So it’s certainly going to be a little advantage to us.

“Obviously somebody of that class, especially in the conditions that we played in (Birmingham), it’s going to be a bonus that he’s not playing for the opposition.”

Michael Clarke likened it to Glenn McGrath’s injury in the 2005 series in terms of importance.

Di Venuto agreed and offered another more recent example.

“They probably felt the same with Ryan Harris pulling out for us at the start of the series,” he said.

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