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Other SportsEngland include Lancashire's Hartley over county team-mate Anderson for India test

England include Lancashire’s Hartley over county team-mate Anderson for India test

Tom Hartley was the surprise inclusion in the England team to face India in the first Test with the tourists opting to go with three spinners.

Hartley will make his Test debut in Hyderabad despite an underwhelming record of 40 wickets in 20 first-class matches for Lancashire. His county team-mate Jimmy Anderson will watch from the slidelines with England going in with just one seamer in Durham’s Mark Wood.

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Rehan Ahmed and Jack Leach will complement Hartley in a line-up that captain Ben Stokes believes gives England the best chance of claiming an early lead in the five-match series.

He told BBC Sport: “Looking at past tours, you can see how spin may give us a better opportunity.

“We feel having the three out-and-out spinners will give us the best chance.

“The decision was on looking at the pitch and thinking who we are going to get more out of.

“Would we play two seamers, or an extra spinner? It is no disrespect to the seamers we have out. Pitches and conditions might change as the tour goes on, then we might have to look at a different dynamic.

“Tom is someone who’s obviously very tall. He bowls at a very difficult pace to be able to handle out here and he’s someone who gets a lot of natural variation which, in India, is sometimes the hardest thing to face where you’ve got two of the same ball, ball after ball, and one turns square and the one could skid on and pick up pace. 

“So it’s just trying to give ourselves the best chance of being able to exploit conditions.”

It is the first time since 1962 that England will go into a Test match with just one recognised pace bowler and Stokes explained why Wood got the nod over Anderson.

“When you go with one seamer, you look at the impact you want out of that seamer,” he added. 

“What Woody brings with his high pace, he is a real impact bowler. If we can get the ball swinging, him bowling in the 90s-mph with a reverse-swinging ball will be very difficult to play against.

“He’s a weapon we can use in short, sharp spells. We’ve already said that to him. Bowl as fast as you can in short periods. There’s no worries about thinking about long spells. You never know, things might change and he might have to bowl a few long spells. That’s how I envision using Woody before we’ve bowled a ball.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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