James Anderson returns on his Old Trafford home ground to lead an ageing England attack in a must-win fourth Ashes Test.
It is the only change for Ben Stokes’ men, 2-1 down with two to play.
England have dropped Ollie Robinson, who suffered a back spasm as the hosts won the third Test by three wickets at Headingley.
Anderson is reinstated just a fortnight short of his 41st birthday for the match starting Wednesday.
Anderson’s 688 wickets are the most by any paceman in Test history. Only spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne are ahead of the Lancashire swing bowler.
But Anderson managed just three wickets as England fell 2-0 behind. He is now, however, set to be the cornerstone of the oldest pace attack in an Ashes match since the Australia lineup of 1928.
That was the last time either side deployed four seamers aged 33 or above, with Stuart Broad (37), Chris Woakes (34) and express quick Mark Wood (33) joining Anderson in England’s seam-bowling quartet.
England’s seasoned campaigners also include all-rounder Moeen Ali.
“I was always told that old was gold,” the 36-year-old Moeen said Monday. “But it’s not just old, it’s Jimmy, it’s Broady, Woakesy, Woody – they’re really good bowlers.
“Myself … you never know what you’re going to get, but with those guys, you definitely know how good they are.”
Only a few weeks ago, Moeen was retired from Test cricket but an injury to frontline spinner Jack Leach led to his recall.
With Ollie Pope sidelined by a dislocated shoulder, Moeen finds himself in the key position of No 3, with star batsman Joe Root preferring No 4. Emerging talent Harry Brook made a decisive 75 at No 5 at Headingley.
Moeen only managed five at first-wicket down in the second innings at Headingley but England are keeping him there after resisting calls for either captain Stokes, or wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who has struggled with both bat and gloves this series, to move up the order.
It is nearly seven years since Moeen – who has batted in every position from one to nine in his 66-Test career – scored the last of his five centuries at this level.
“If I’m playing well and I get in I have made Test hundreds before and it’s not like I can’t do it,” said Moeen, who added: “But things happen for a reason … I’m a big one on faith and destiny.”
Australia have yet to name their XI as Pat Cummins bids to lead the Test world champions to their first Ashes series win in England since 2001.
Veteran opener David Warner twice fell cheaply at Headingley to Broad, who has dismissed the Australian opener 17 times in Test cricket.
Warner and middle order mainstays, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, have just one hundred and one fifty between them in 18 innings.
At Headingley, Mitchell Marsh marked his first Test since 2019 with a fine hundred after replacing the injured, but now fit, Cameron Green.
Australia must decide if both all-rounders can play in the team. Josh Hazlewood is set to return after fellow paceman Scott Boland went wicketless at Headingley.
England have won 13 of their last 16 Tests at Old Trafford, losing just once.
But that defeat was against Australia four years ago. Not since Ian Botham hit a celebrated hundred in 1981 have they enjoyed an Ashes win at the Manchester ground.
The 2019 series serves as a warning to England. The euphoria of a victory at Headingley was followed by a loss at Old Trafford as Hazlewood took six wickets in the match.
“I’m hugely excited, I’ve got fond memories of the last time here in 2019 so it’s good to be back,” Hazlewood said.
“Obviously I sat the last game out, but I feel better for it. It was probably the right call. Now I can sit back and look at the big picture. I was desperate to play, but now it makes sense.
“Hopefully, after that little break, I’ll come out firing again.”
© Agence France-Presse