England recall Robinson, retain Crawley for second Test against Proteas

With the only change coming in the bowling attack Zak Crawley, the opening batter, retains his place in the side.

Fast bowler Ollie Robinson has been recalled to the England side for the second Test with South Africa as the hosts bid to level the three match series.

Sussex paceman Robinson, who last played for England in the final Ashes Test in January, replaces Matthew Potts for the match at Old Trafford which starts on Thursday.

England will need a considerably improved performance following the innings and 12 runs thrashing inside three days at Lord’s in the first Test.

Robinson has 39 wickets in nine Tests at an average of  21.28.

Following a poor Ashes series, where his approach to fitness was questioned in public by the England coaching staff, Robinson missed the subsequent tour of the West Indies with back spasms.

He was due to play for a County Select XI against New Zealand in May, only to miss out with a stiff back, before a bout of Covid-19 caused him to spend more time on the sidelines.

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Opener Zak Crawley retains his place despite another poor outing at Lord’s — scoring nine and 13.

In 35 innings as a Test opener, Crawley averages 22.25, a figure boosted by a double century against Pakistan in 2020.

England Zak Crawley
Zak Crawley of England during a net session at Old Trafford. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Only two openers in Test history have a lower average from at least as many innings. Australia’s Alick Bannerman, who played in the 19th century, averaged 21.44, and Bangladesh’s Javed Omar 22.07.

England’s defeat last weekend against the top-ranked Test side ended a run of four successive victories under red ball head coach Brendon McCullum, and captain Ben Stokes. 

England: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach, Ollie Robinson and James Anderson.

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