Having wrapped up the Ashes 3-0 with a game to spare, England sprung a surprise with their selection for the fifth Test against Australia at The Oval by selecting Simon Kerrigan and Chris Woakes for their debuts.
Woakes and Kerrigan in for England. All change at the Oval— Dean Wilson (@CricketMirror) August 21, 2013
England had to make one enforced change when Tim Bresnan was ruled out for the remainder of the summer with a stress fracture of the lower back, but it was not anticipated that England would make any further alterations to a winning team.
The decision to drop Jonny Bairstow was also a surprise—though he has struggled for form, it means that England have selected a five-bowler attack, which is a rarity during the four years of coach Andy Flower's tenure.
Kerrigan, a 24-year-old left-arm spinner from Lancashire, is an obvious benefactor of Monty Panesar's fall from grace. Panesar hit the headlines earlier this month for urinating on a bouncer at a Sussex nightclub.
Kerrigan has a strong first-class record and has taken over as the leading spinner at Lancashire since Gary Keedy left for Surrey. His selection is a reflection of England's belief that The Oval pitch will offer turn.
Woakes of Warwickshire is a straight swap for Bresnan—a seam bowler who also offers some ability with the bat.
Again, the 24-year-old was also not expected to feature in the match, despite having been in and around the team at T20 and ODI levels. Woakes' displays with England have been mixed, but his domestic first-class record is excellent, and he appears to be highly regarded within the England setup.
His six first-class centuries, however, may have convinced England that they can afford to weaken their batting lineup.
The pair become the 656th and 657th players to represent England in Test cricket—the full list can be found here on Cricinfo.