Two newcomers in England squad to face West Indies
Mark Stoneman, the Surrey opening batsman, is set to make his Test debut against a pink ball next week, after being named in a 13-man England squad for the first Test against West Indies at Edgbaston, the first day-night Test to be staged in this country.
Also in the frame for a debut is the Hampshire leg-spinner, Mason Crane, who displayed his composure in the T20 series against South Africa in June, and, at the age of 20, has been handed an opportunity to press for a place on this winter’s Ashes tour. He replaces his county team-mate, Liam Dawson, who featured in the first two Tests against South Africa, but was outperformed in the spin-bowling stakes by Moeen Ali’s 25-wicket haul.
Stoneman, however, is at this stage the only certainty for a call-up, following Keaton Jennings’ struggles to find any form as Alastair Cook’s partner at the top of the order. After making a century in his maiden Test innings against India in Mumbai, Jennings passed fifty just once in 11 subsequent innings, and averaged 15.87 in four Tests against South Africa with a top score of 48.
Stoneman, who is set to become Cook’s 12th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012, has certainly earned his call-up. His move from Durham to Surrey this season has earned him 1,033 runs in first-class cricket, including a top score of 197 and an average of 57.38 with three centuries.
SQUAD: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Dawid Malan, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Tom Westley, Chris Woakes (ESPNCricinfo)