England select Josh Tongue for Lord’s Ashes Test

England select Josh Tongue for Lord’s Ashes Test

England have thrown rookie seamer Josh Tongue into his first Ashes Test after concerns over the readiness of spinner Moeen Ali and paceman Mark Wood.

Tongue, who took five wickets on his international debut against Ireland earlier this month, replaces Moeen in a four-strong seam attack at Lord’s in what will be easily the biggest game of the 25-year-old’s career.

Moeen recovered well after a burst blister on his right index finger reduced his ability to bowl effectively in the series-opening defeat at Edgbaston, but some concerns of a recurrence still lingered.

Moeen Ali and Mark Wood will sit out the Lord's Test
Moeen Ali and Mark Wood will sit out the Lord’s Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

Captain Ben Stokes admitted he would have liked to call on Wood, one of the fastest bowlers in the world, to freshen up the attack but the Durham quick has not played red-ball cricket since December and there were worries over his readiness to fire over the course of five days.

“With how Mo’s finger was last week – it’s actually recovered really well – but we just thought we would get more out of our fourth bowler being Josh Tongue this week,” Stokes explained.

“We wanted to play Mark Wood. We felt that he could definitely start the game, but with conversations we felt the extra week of build-up and getting his loads up would give him a better chance and an opportunity to play a full part from Leeds (the third Test at Headingley) onwards.

“We brought Tonguey into the team as a like-for-like with Woody. I’m looking forward to seeing Tonguey continue the great start he had against Ireland here. The only thing that’s different is the occasion for him.

Josh Tongue made his Test debut against Ireland earlier this month
Josh Tongue made his Test debut against Ireland earlier this month (John Walton/PA)

“He’s had his first Test match, his debut game, which he’s had huge success from. Coming in and being able to use him in a fourth seamer role is something that I’m very much looking forward to him being able to do and I think he’s really looking forward to the challenge as well.”

Stokes commended the Worcestershire seamer for his willingness to take on different roles against the Irish, hinting England saw him as a potential enforcer alongside the subtler skills of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson.

“His first spell was just running up and bowling, trying to bowl wicket-taking deliveries, then we used him in a different way where we attacked the Ireland batters with our short-ball plan,” Stokes said.

“Broady, Jimmy and Robbo will tell you it’s always nice having someone who can bowl at 90mph doing it. Just having that versatility as a bowler this week is going to be very useful.”