5 possible contenders to boost England in third Test

18 July 2017 03:08

England's 340-run demolition at the hands of South Africa in the second Investec Test has generated fierce criticism of the team's application, mentality and selection - despite coming hot on the heels of an impressive victory at Lord's.

The selectors will convene soon to thrash out their squad for the Oval Test, with Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Liam Dawson and Mark Wood all potentially vulnerable.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at some of the possible options to boost the XI.

MARK STONEMAN Probably unlucky that the opening batsman wheel of roulette has not yet turned to him, but his days of disappointment are surely coming to an end. After a number of prolific series at Durham he has settled quickly at Surrey - and it should do his cause no harm to be familiar with the Oval. At 30 he has more miles on the clock than Jennings, but that may be no bad thing.

DAWID MALAN The Middlesex batsman was thought to be close to making his Test bow at the start of the series but captain Joe Root's preference for Yorkshire team-mate Ballance may have counted against him in the final reckoning. Ballance may be handed another chance, particularly if Jennings is jettisoned, but there would be logic in drafting Malan into the squad to assess him at closer quarters. A spirited 78 on his international T20 bow counts in his favour.

TOM WESTLEY An elegant performer and an Essex team-mate of Alastair Cook, he restated his already solid credentials with a century against the Proteas in the pre-Test tour match against the Proteas. In that sense he is as box-ready as any of the potential batting reinforcements.

ADIL RASHID With Dawson's selection increasingly looking like a case of over-thinking matters, the Yorkshire leg-spinner must surely come back into the equation. He is a fragile character, though, and England will be aware they may have set him back by leaving him out initially. If Dawson is axed and he is overlooked once more - perhaps for the exciting but raw Mason Crane - he will know his Test days are at serious risk.

TOBY ROLAND-JONES Common sense suggests Wood, who is still feeling his way back at the top level after two years of injury problems, will be retained for the next match. The lengthy gap between skirmishes will help his case, with back-to-back appearances not exactly his forte. But there is no hiding from a return of one wicket at the cost of 197 runs. Roland-Jones has been close to selection before and time is running out to see if he is an Ashes bolter or not, meaning he should see action before the summer is out.

Source: PA