England drop Ali for Leach
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Moeen Ali scored four runs in two innings at Edgbaston and finished with match figures of 3-172.
Moeen Ali scored four runs in two innings at Edgbaston and finished with match figures of 3-172.

(BBC) – ENGLAND have dropped Moeen Ali and replaced him in the squad with slow left-armer Jack Leach for the second Ashes Test against Australia at Lord’s.

Off-spinner Moeen returned match figures of 3-172 and scored only four runs in the 251-run defeat in the first Test at Edgbaston.

Jofra Archer is likely to make his Test debut, with pace bowlers James Anderson and Olly Stone missing through injury.

The second Test of the five-match series begins on August 14.

Leach, who has played five Tests, was man-of-the-match when England beat Ireland at Lord’s in July after making 92 as a nightwatchman.

Archer was named in the squad for the first Test but was left out of the team to give him more time to recover from a side strain.

He took 6-27 and hit a 99-ball century for Sussex 2nd XI this week.

Anderson bowled only four overs at Edgbaston after aggravating a right calf injury, while Stone will be out for two weeks with a lower back injury.

England, who trail the series 1-0, have not lost a home Ashes series since 2001.

Batsman Joe Denly, who made scores of 11 and 18 in the first Test, has kept his place in the 12-man squad, as have Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, who scored a combined 20 runs at Edgbaston.

Moeen has struggled for form throughout the summer and was dropped by England in the decisive stages of their World Cup campaign.

He has taken 181 wickets in 60 Tests and in the last 12 months he has taken more wickets – 48 in 10 Tests at 25.12 – than any other bowler in Test cricket.

However, he has made just two half-centuries in his past 20 innings for England and has particularly struggled against Australian counterpart Nathan Lyon, who has dismissed him nine times in 11 matches.

The left-hander has made four ducks in nine Test innings in 2019 for a total of only 90 runs, 60 of which came in one innings in Antigua against West Indies.

Moeen was unable to profit from a turning pitch at Edgbaston, while Lyon took 6-49 on the final day to bowl England out for 146.

He has scored 476 runs at 25.05 in 11 Tests against Australia and taken 20 wickets, with a best of 3-59, at 64.65.

Former Australia bowler Mitchell Johnson said on Monday that he “feels” for the all-rounder, adding: “His record against Australia isn’t that great. I can feel for him a bit but that’s part of playing professional sport.”

Leach has taken 20 wickets in five Tests for England since making his debut against New Zealand in 2018.

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