London — England pace bowler Jofra Archer has been omitted from the side for the first Ashes Test against Australia starting at Edgbaston on Thursday with Chris Woakes keeping his place after his stunning display against Ireland last week.
Barbados-born Archer, who made a huge impact in England’s triumphant World Cup campaign, taking 20 wickets, is yet to play a Test and has been suffering with a side strain.
Fellow paceman Olly Stone also misses out, as does Sam Curran from the original 14-man squad. Record Test wicket taker James Anderson returns after recovering from a calf strain and will lead the attack with usual strike partner Stuart Broad.
All-rounder Ben Stokes is back to bolster the batting and bowling units after being rested for the Ireland match, while Moeen Ali is the specialist spinner.
“Jofra is coming back from a serious injury,” England skipper Joe Root said on Wednesday. “We looked at the conditions and went with what we thought was best to take 20 wickets here.”
Warwickshire’s Woakes, whose home pitch is Edgbaston, took six wickets in a magical spell of seam bowling as Ireland were dismissed for 38 to lose by 143 runs at Lord’s last week.
Archer will return to Sussex to play a Twenty20 Blast game.
While England’s bowling has a familiar look, the top order batting remains a worry with openers Rory Burns, Jason Roy and Joe Denly, who has dropped down to No 4 to allow Root to come in at three, having only 11 Test caps between them.
Root says his elevation to a spot he has previously been reluctant to occupy was entirely his decision.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get in there earlier to spread out the experience,” he said. “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 a I can get my head around juggling leading on the field and batting.”
The return to the side of Jos Buttler to the middle order means wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who made a pair against Ireland, drops down to seven.
Team: Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (capt), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.