Amidst some severe injury woes, there was at least something to cheer for the England team on their arrival at Townsville after Coach Trevor Bayliss confirmed that all-rounder Moeen Ali has regained full fitness and will be available for the final Ashes Warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI.
Moeen suffered a side strain which was first detected on England’s arrival at Perth around a couple of weeks ago. He missed both the tour games and will look to make some amends in the final warm-up game ahead of the opening Test at the Gabba scheduled to start from November 23. The four day game against the Cricket Australia XI will commence on Wednesday, and if everything falls into place, Moeen Ali is expected to play a major role when the first Test begins.
“Mo’s fine.”He’s been bowling and batting (in the nets) during this match (in Adelaide). He thinks he could have played in Adelaide. There are no concerns there; he will be playing in Townsville,” Bayliss said.
Injuries have severely pegged England and the absence of their star all-rounder Ben Stokes is expected to make a big impact.
Chances of Stokes’s playing in the Ashes is as good as gone but there are still hopes that if the police investigation on the Bristol night-club brawl goes in favour of Stokes, he might be brought in for the 3rd Test scheduled to be played in Perth. But as of now, coach Bayliss has urged the team to accept that Stokes is not a part of the team and his inclusion at any stage of the series will just be a bonus.
Meanwhile, Steven Finn has already been ruled out of the Ashes after tearing a cartilage on his right knee, and Jake Ball will require at least 7-10 days to be match fit after sustaining a ligament injury during the tour game against a Cricket Australia XI. He has a race against time to get match fit ahead of the opening Test in Brisbane.
When Bayliss was asked that why the 20-year-old left-arm quick George Garton was called up as a cover for the next tour game in Townsville no wonder, he replied, “Because he’s fit.” Such has been the condition of the England team they had to field Paul Collingwood and their fielding coach as substitutes during the 2nd practise game.
Meanwhile England’s leading wicket-taker in Tests, James Anderson looked in good rhythm during the previous warm-up match as he swung both the pink and the red cherry. Appointed as the vice-captain in the absence of Stokes, Anderson will look to rise up to the occasion and come up with the goods for the visitors.