While there were reports that young leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, who was brought in as a back-up for Moeen, might be picked, that’s not the case. England have instead gone for fast bowler Josh Tongue, who made his debut in the one-off Test against Ireland. Tongue (25) went wicketless in the first innings against Ireland, but shone with 5/66 in the second essay.
Speaking at a pre-match press conference, England captain Ben Stokes admitted that he wanted to play Mark Wood, but the England pacer honestly told him that he was not 100 per cent fit to play his role. The England skipper said, "We wanted to play Mark Wood. We felt that he could definitely start the game but with conversations, we felt the extra week with build-up and getting his loads up would give him a better chance and an opportunity to play a full part from Leeds onwards.”
On the decision to pick Tongue and drop Moeen despite the latter being fit, meaning England will have an all-pace attack for Lord’s, the all-rounder explained, "And we brought Tonguey into the team as a like-for-like with Woody. We turned up here at Lord's and saw there was quite a lot of grass on the wicket, a bit of green.
“Traditionally, Lord's has offered more for the seamers and with how Mo's finger was last week’s we just thought we would get more out of our fourth bowler being Josh Tongue this week," he added.
Despite going down in the first Ashes Test by two wickets, England have maintained that they will look to continue playing in aggressive mode or in other words, ‘Bazball’, notwithstanding the criticism from some quarters.
England Playing XI for Lord’s Test: Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Ollie Robinson, Josh Tongue
--By A Cricket Correspondent