Ashes: England to persist with Crawley as opener, Broad returns for fourth Test

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England have decided to persist with young opener Zak Crawley and have included veteran pace bowler Stuart Broad for the fourth Ashes Test beginning at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 5.

England stand-in coach Graham Thorpe said on Tuesday that Broad’s inclusion has come at the expense of Ollie Robinson’s, adding that this is the only change made in the Playing XI from the side that played the Boxing Day Test at MCG.

England have lost the Ashes as they are 0-3 down in the five-Test series after losing by nine wickets in Brisbane, 275 runs in Adelaide and an innings and 14-run loss at the MCG.

Broad played only the second Test on a flat Adelaide pitch after being dropped from the opening game at The Gabba. He was again omitted for the third Test at MCG, following which he made his displeasure known in his column for a British daily.

The 35-year-old Broad took 1/73 and 1/27 on an unhelpful Adelaide pitch, even under lights with the pink ball. Robinson has emerged as the leading wicket-taker for England with nine scalps and is the only bowler in the touring side to play all three matches.

According to sen.com.au, Robinson has been omitted as he was a little sore after the Melbourne Test.

The 35-year-old Broad is sixth on the list of all-time Test wicket-takers, having taken 526 scalps so far, and ranks third behind country-mate Jimmy Anderson (639 wickets) and former Australian bowler Glenn McGrath (563 wickets) among pacers. He is widely regarded as one of the best fast bowlers English have produced. Following the Ashes debacle, he wrote for The Mail, expressing his frustration at not being able to influence the series.

“As a wobble-seam bowler, I feel as though I missed out on two of the best wobble-seam pitches in Australia (Brisbane and MCG). Only playing once has made this a very disappointing trip, one that has not met my personal expectations,” he wrote.

“The biggest frustration is losing the Ashes, being 3-0 down and feeling like I’ve not really done anything. Not being able, as an experienced player, to influence a series while it’s live is tough.”

England XI: Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (c), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Mark Wood, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson.

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