Worcestershire seamer Josh Tongue will make his England debut in the one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s from Thursday after being preferred to Chris Woakes.
The 25-year-old will join Stuart Broad and Matthew Potts in England’s seam attack with James Anderson (groin) and Ollie Robinson (ankle) not risked ahead of the Ashes from Friday June 16.
Tongue has picked up 11 wickets in four County Championship matches so far this season, including that of Australia’s Steve Smith lbw when Worcestershire played Sussex, with his overall first-class record reading 162 wickets in 47 games at an average of 26.04.
England XI to face Ireland at Lord’s
Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue, Jack Leach
Thursday 1st June 10:00am
Speaking to Sky Sports News last week, Tongue – who missed 15 months of cricket between 2021 and 2022 due to a right shoulder problem which required two operations – said he would bring “pace, bounce and a bit of movement” if he made his Test debut.
After his inclusion at Lord’s was confirmed on Tuesday, Tongue said: “It’s an amazing feeling. Speechless really, even from when I got the first call-up to be in the squad. Now being in the actual team, it’s just a dream come true really.
“Baz (coach Brendon McCullum) came up to me just before training finished and gave me the good news. I bowled at some of the lads on Monday, I felt like I bowled nicely and obviously I must have bowled fairly well to get selected.”
Woakes was hoping to play his first Test since March 2022 – and first at home since September 2021 – after missing last summer’s fixtures due to a knee injury.
The 34-year-old has a stellar Test record at Lord’s, taking 27 wickets in five games at an average of 11.33 with a best of 6-17 in the 143-run win over Ireland four years ago, but will miss out this week.
Fit-again Jonny Bairstow will make his first Test appearance since August having returned to the XI in place of Ben Foakes as wicketkeeper-batter with the Yorkshireman due to bat at No 7.
Bairstow struck four hundreds in six Tests for England last summer, totalling 681 runs at an average of 75.66 and a strike rate of 96.59, before breaking his leg on a golf course last September.
Bairstow’s replacement, Harry Brook, began his Test career with four centuries in six games and has retained his spot in the side at No 5, with Foakes the unfortunate man to miss out.
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England’s Stuart Broad talks to Sky Sports News’ Rob Jones about the Bazball era and the upcoming Ashes series
After Foakes was omitted from the squad named a few weeks ago, England managing director of men’s cricket Rob Key said: “It is something we agonised over for quite some time.
“You’ve got two very good cricketers: Foakes, who has just done absolutely everything that has been asked of him, and Bairstow, who was one of the best batsmen in the world last year.
“It’s then how do you fit them both in? We couldn’t find a way to do that so we’ve ended up with Jonny keeping and batting at No 7.”
England XI to face Ireland at Lord’s
Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (captain), Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Stuart Broad, Matthew Potts, Josh Tongue, Jack Leach.
Malan: We want to entertain at Lord’s
Ireland coach Heinrich Malan said his side will look to entertain when they take on England on day one of the Test at Lord’s on Thursday.
The team spent March and April touring south Asia with games against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ahead of their first Test meeting with England since 2019.
England’s aggressive approach continues to win acclaim but Malan pointed out that with much of his side having played the bulk of their careers in one-day cricket, they were well set up to provide a watchable spectacle across their four days in London.
“Look, we know it will be challenging,” said Malan. “But within that challenge it will create opportunity too, and I guess for us we’re looking at the opportunity side of things.
“If they play the way they play and we can execute some of the plans that we have in place, hopefully we can execute that and that will leave us there for an exciting match.
“If you look at the way we’ve played white-ball cricket, we’ve (entertained). We’ve drawn some cards, we’ve beaten one or two of the top-tier teams in the way that we’ve gone about our white-ball business.
“To be fair, a lot of our players, their fall-back is white-ball as an understudy of how they play so a lot of their natural instinct is geared towards white-ball cricket which is all about entertainment.”
Ireland were admitted as full members of the International Cricket Council in 2017 and are currently ranked 12th of the 12 Test-playing nations.
They have lost all six Tests they have played since their first against Pakistan in 2018 but have fared better as a one-day side, registering 75 wins in 188 games since 2006.
Watch England’s Test summer live on Sky Sports Cricket. The four-day fixture against Ireland takes place at Lord’s from Thursday with the Ashes series under way at Edgbaston from June 16.