LONDON - England have left pace bowler Jofra Archer out of their team for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston starting on Thursday. Archer, who is yet to play a Test, was England’s leading wicket-taker in their successful World Cup campaign.

Chris Woakes is preferred on his home ground after taking 6-17 in the win over Ireland last week. England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson, who missed the Ireland game with a calf injury, is fit. Anderson will lead an attack that also includes Stuart Broad, all-rounder Ben Stokes and off-spinner Moeen Ali.

The rest of the side is as expected, with captain Joe Root moving up one place to bat at three behind openers Rory Burns and Jason Roy. With Joe Denly batting at four, Root has elevated himself to break up a trio of players who have only 11 Test caps between them.

On his decision to return to number three, having previously stated his preference for batting at four, Root told BBC Sport: “It was completely my decision. It’s an opportunity for me to get in there earlier to spread out the experience. It’s a really good chance for me to cement this spot and make it my own. Having captained this side for a while, I feel like and I can get my head around juggling leading on the field and batting.”

Match starts at 3:00 PM

Jos Buttler, who, like Stokes, was rested against Ireland, returns to the middle order, with wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow moving down to number seven. Archer was born in Barbados to a British father and qualified to play for England in March. After the World Cup, he was nursing a side injury and returned to Barbados to rest, missing the chance for a Test debut against Ireland at Lord’s.

He returned to action on Friday, taking two wickets for Sussex in the Twenty20 Blast. “Jofra is coming back from a serious injury,” said Root.

“We looked at the conditions and went with what we thought was best to take 20 wickets here. It always give him the chance to get 100% fit.

That will be monitored throughout the week.”

Australia captain Tim Paine declined to name his team, saying it will be announced at the toss on Thursday. Batsmen Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are in line to play their first Tests since being banned for their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018.


ENGLAND XI: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (capt), Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.

AUSTRALIA (FROM): Tim Paine (capt, wk), Cameron Bancroft, Patrick Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner.