England has been on the receiving end of severe criticism from the fans and experts courtesy of their below-par performances in the ongoing Test series against India. Things could have been worse had Joe Root not scored runs but it’s still pretty vulnerable at the moment. With series on the line, England made some desperate changes into their squad and dropped Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley while adding Dawid Malan. Meanwhile, they will have to make some forced changes as well with Mark Wood being ruled out due to shoulder injury.
Former England pacer Steve Harmison has picked up England’s playing XI for the third Test in Headingley. The pacer left out all-rounder Sam Curran from the team. Curran was the difference between England and India in the 2018 series but has looked off-colour in the ongoing series.
As per Harmison’s XI, Dawid Malan will follow the openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed at No 3. Despite a poor outing in the last game, Haseeb was a certain selection given that he had scored a hundred in the warm-up game while Rory Burns showed enough patience in the first innings at Lords, which gave him another opportunity at the top.
Harmison dropped Dom Sibley from the opening slot which is justified. At 5, Harmison added Ollie Pope. Pope’s inclusion will add batting depth to the side but will compromise on the bowling as England then will be left with just three pace options, with Moeen Ali being the lone spinner. Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow have been retained. While Anderson and Robinson were granted selections, Harmison picked Craig Overton over Saqib Mahmood as a replacement for injured Mark Wood.
Here’s Steve Harmison’s England’s playing XI: Haseeb Hameed, Rory Burns, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (C), Ollie Pope, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (WK), Moeen Ali, Ollie Robinson, Craig Overton and James Anderson.