|England v West Indies, third Test|
|Venue: Emirates Old Trafford Dates: 24-28 July|
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW, online, tablets, mobiles and BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two at 19:00 (19:15 on Saturday). Live text commentary and in-play highlights on the BBC Sport website.|
Pace bowler Jofra Archer has been included in the England squad for the deciding Test against West Indies.
The 25-year-old was dropped from the second Test for breaching the Covid-19 bio-secure protocols.
In his newspaper column, Archer spoke of struggling for motivation when he returned to practice and needing to be “100% mentally right” in order to play at Emirates Old Trafford.
James Anderson and Mark Wood are also in a 14-man squad for Friday’s match.
But there is concern over the fitness of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who may not be able to bowl.
Stokes scored 254 runs, took three crucial wickets and a catch in being named man of the match in England’s second Test win, but pulled up midway through an over late on the final day.
“Ben has a little bit of a niggle,” England captain Joe Root told BBC Sport. “He’ll definitely be able to play, but it’s about how much impact he will be able to make with the ball.
“It’s lingered a little bit. It’s nothing too serious or something to worry about long-term. It’s about managing him very carefully.”
With the three-Test series poised at 1-1, West Indies have the opportunity for a first series win in England since 1988.
England are looking to reclaim the Wisden Trophy and defend a six-year unbeaten home record.
England squad for final Test against West Indies: Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
Archer has ‘big smile on his face’
Archer was set to play in the second Test until his breach of the protocols – put in place to shield players from coronavirus – came to light the night before the match was due to begin.
He admitted visiting his home in Hove on the journey from Southampton, where the first Test was played, to Emirates Old Trafford, the venue for the second and third.
The Sussex bowler was forced to spend five days in isolation and was later fined and given a written warning.
Archer began bowling in the nets at the end of his isolation period and returned two negative coronavirus tests before rejoining the rest of the England players on Tuesday.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Archer said he had suffered racist abuse on Instagram and has withdrawn from social media because it is “unnecessary noise”.
“He’s had a tough week,” said Root. “Some of the stuff he had to deal with has been quite horrible.
“As a squad we have tried to rally around him and made sure he is as good as he can. If selected, he will be desperate to put in a good performance.
“He seems good. He’s performed well in practice and he’s got a big smile on his face.”
England mull bowling options
Archer will compete with Anderson, Wood, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran for places in the final XI.
In the first two Tests, England have opted for three pace bowlers, but the concern over Stokes could mean rejigging the side.
A batsman could make way, or the wet weather in Manchester could lead to the omission of spinner Dom Bess, who has been retained in the squad ahead of Jack Leach.
Broad, Woakes and Curran were the pace attack for the second Test, which England won by 113 runs.
Anderson and Wood, who both played in England’s first-Test defeat, have been recalled after being rested for the second.
In naming all six fast bowlers that have played so far in the series for the squad for the third Test, England have delayed giving any indication about who will make the final XI on Friday.
With the pacemen being rotated over the first two matches, England coach Chris Silverwood previously confirmed England will play their strongest team for the decider and Root said he has a “pretty good idea” of what that is.
“When you talk about best bowling attack, it’s for the conditions in front of us,” he said.
“We’ve got plenty of brilliant options to choose from. Whichever combination we go with will be able to take 20 wickets.”
Holder eyes shot at history
Rain in Manchester has kept the pitch under cover and more bad weather is forecast throughout the Test.
Like Root, West Indies captain Jason Holder said he could give no indication of the selection of his team until he had seen the pitch.
West Indies, who earned a memorable win in Southampton, looked tired in the second Test, with pace bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph both spending time off the field.
“The short turnaround has been tough,” said Holder. “No doubt both teams will be feeling it. We have enough motivation to keep pushing.”
Not only have the Windies struggled in England for the past 32 years, they have failed to win an away series against anyone other than Zimbabwe, Bangladesh or Afghanistan since 1995.
“I’m really proud of the guys so far in this tour, and now it’s just a matter of pushing it to the next level,” added Holder.
“We still have a really good opportunity to win this series. It’s a matter of righting the wrongs we had in the last game.”