England’s two most under-fire bowlers enjoyed timely returns to form in the third-Test win over Pakistan at Edgbaston.
On that basis, the idea that Adil Rashid will come in to replace either Steven Finn or Moeen Ali at the Oval for the series’ climax is hard to believe.
The Yorkshire leg-spinner has been a part of the hosts’ squad ever since the first Test defeat at Lord’s, but is yet to be selected to play.
His presence among the Three Lions’ party was seen to add pressure to Ali’s place in the XI, but after the spinning all-rounder collected man-of-the-match honours in Birmingham he will remain first choice for some time yet.
In the buildup to the London-based fourth Test, England coach Trevor Bayliss floated the idea of fielding Ali – who scored 149 runs and took 2-49 in the fourth innings last time out – alongside Rashid in a two-pronged spin attack.
That move would be a precursor to the upcoming winter tours of Bangladesh and India, with many suggesting Finn would make way. However, like Ali, the seamer showed far better form in the Midlands.
The Middlesex quick was desperately unlucky to go wicketless in the first innings, but was rewarded for his better display with two big wickets in the tourists’ second dig.
First, the often stubborn skipper Misbah-ul-Haq feathered a catch to Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps, before Sami Aslam was bowled opting to leave.
Maintaining Finn’s confidence is vital for Alastair Cook’s side, who have needed to lean increasingly on their deep fast-bowling stocks in recent times amid injuries to the likes James Anderson, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.