MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 21th july, 2016) - England captain Alastair Cook announced Thursday that the hosts had reduced their squad for the second Test against Pakistan from 14 to 12 after dropping Steven Finn and Jake Ball. The fast bowlers, who both played in England's 75-run defeat by Pakistan in the first Test at Lord's, were released ahead of the second Test, which starts at Old Trafford on Friday.
Now fit-again paceman James Anderson (shoulder), England's all-time leading wicket-taker, and all-rounder Ben Stokes (knee), who both didn't play at Lord's, are set to make their Test return in Manchester. England's decision means they could give a home debut to leg-spinner Adil Rashid, all of whose three Test appearances to date were away to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year, in support of off-spinner Moeen Ali.
"We're going to name a 12 -- Steven Finn and Bally are missing out," Cook told reporters at Old Trafford on Thursday. "That means, obviously, Ben Stokes and Jimmy Anderson are back in - and Adil's going to be in the 12, just depending on what happens to that wicket by tomorrow (Friday)." Ball took just one wicket on his Test debut while Finn was below his best on his Middlesex home ground, with pace bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes taking 11 wickets in the match.
"It's tough on Jake and Steven. Jake on debut bowled better than just taking one wicket (suggests)," said Cook. "But in the overall picture, it's another person we can call upon and add in competition for places ... and keep people on their toes." There was suggestions hat Anderson, who will now make his Test return at his Lancashire home ground, had declared himself fit to play at Lord's. Cook and England coach Trevor Bayliss reportedly wanted him to play at Lord's, the first of a four-Test series, but were said to have been over-ruled by the selectors.
Cook, however, defended the decision by saying: "It's great to have Jimmy back. He's an outstanding bowler, (and) it's great to have him fully fit. "If he'd bowled 30 overs (at Lord's) and really hurt his shoulder, and was out again, we'd all be sitting here and be disappointed with that decision. "We probably erred on the side of caution, and have to hope we now have him for three games." - 'Bounce back' - ================= For all the debate about Anderson, it was England's batting -- particularly their struggles against Pakistan leg-spinner Yasir Shah, who took 10 wickets in the match -- that was behind their defeat at Lord's.
"No one really put their hand up with the bat in that second innings," said Cook. "In the first innings, no one went on and got close to that (big) score," added opener Cook, who led the way for England with 81. "It would be wrong to sit here saying if you're 1-0 down you're in a better place than if you're 1-0 up. "But we've got some really good cricketers in that team, who will be hungry to bounce back. "We have lost before, and put in a very good performance a week later."