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Robinson returns to England’s Test team

Fast bowler Ollie Robinson has returned to the England team in place of Matthew Potts for the second Test against South Africa, beginning at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Robinson is the only change made by captain Ben Stokes, whose side lost the first Test by an innings and 12 runs inside three days at Lord’s.

Robinson was England’s leading wicket-taker with 28 in his first summer of Test cricket last year but has since struggled with injuries, with his fitness publicly criticised by bowling coach Jon Lewis during the Ashes tour down under.

He got through a four-day tour match against South Africa for England Lions – essentially the national team’s reserve side – and now replaces Potts, who failed to make an impression at Lord’s especially against the Proteas’ left-handers.

Stokes explained Robinson’s height and ability to extract lift from the pitch was a decisive factor in his comeback and praised Potts for a mature response to being left out.

He said: “When you look at what Ollie possesses as a bowler, one of his real key assets is how much extra bounce he gets compared to other bowlers in our squad.

“We think here at Old Trafford, with it being a slightly quicker wicket than other grounds we play at, it obviously offers a lot more bounce. We obviously pick the team we think is going to enable us to win the Test.

“It’s very tough for Matty to miss out, but what he’s done in the five games that he’s played is he’s taken himself from a county cricketer with a lot of promise and really announced himself on the big stage.”

With no other opener in the squad, Zak Crawley was retained in the team but he will go into the match with the pressure firmly on him, with his average this summer having dropped to 16.40 across 10 Test innings.

The teams are due to play the third and final Test at The Oval from September 8.

England: Zak Crawley, Alex Lees, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach Ollie Robinson, James Anderson.

with AP and PA

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