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Vince recalled, Stokes included in Ashes squad

James Vince and Gary Ballance have been recalled as part of England's Ashes squad. Somerset's Craig Overton is one of three uncapped players in the 16-man party which includes Ben Stokes, who retains the vice-captaincy despite being under a cloud following his arrest in Bristol on Sunday.

Ben Foakes, Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman, and Hampshire legspinner Mason Crane are the other uncapped names who have made the cut. Toby Roland-Jones has been ruled out with the stress fracture of his back and Mark Wood has been considered too much of a fitness gamble for the strains of bowling in Australia.

Tom Westley is the latest top-order player to be tried and dropped after his returns tailed away following a promising debut against South Africa. Vince is set to replace him at No. 3 despite averaging just 19.27, with a top score of 42, in his seven outings against Sri Lanka and Pakistan last year.

Ballance, who was part of the XI earlier this season against South Africa before breaking a finger at Trent Bridge, has again earned the backing of his captain Joe Root although will have to battle with Dawid Malan for the No. 5 berth during the opening weeks of the tour.

"After a successful summer, having won the Test series against South Africa and West Indies, there is real competition for places and we have selected a squad that will work hard and compete against Australia, aiming to win the Ashes," England's national selector, James Whitaker, said.

"Surrey's Ben Foakes deserves his selection for the first time at this level. His glovework has been exemplary and he is regarded as a wicketkeeper of the highest quality. He has the ability to contribute with the bat scoring over 680 runs in the Championship this summer at an average of 45.33.

"Craig Overton, who like Foakes has come through the international pathway, has been involved in the England set-up this summer with the Lions and the T20I squad. He will now get his chance at Test level. We have been impressed with the way he has led Somerset's attack over a long period of time. He has taken 46 Championship wickets this summer and will relish playing in Australian conditions.

"The selectors are backing James Vince to make an impact on his recall to the Test squad. He is a quality strokeplayer and we believe his game will suit the Australian pitches. His understanding of the England set-up will help him settle into the environment quickly and hit the ground running when we arrive in Perth next month."

Of the three new faces, Somerset quick Overton has benefited from a strong finish to the season as well as the injuries to Roland-Jones and Wood. He and Jake Ball will provide the fast-bowling support to James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, the latter now shaping as a certain starter in Brisbane.

Whether Stokes is part of England's pace attack at the Gabba remains uncertain with the police investigation into Sunday's incident outside a Bristol nightclub ongoing.

Overton, 23, is not as brisk as his brother Jamie but has been on England's radar for a number of years and has featured around white-ball squads. He has 186 first-class wickets at 26.48 (as well as a useful batting average of 23.47) which includes 46 at 22.26 this season.

Foakes will provide wicketkeeping cover for Jonny Bairstow, although there is a potential balance of England's side that has him with the gloves at No. 7 and Bairstow in the problematic No. 5 slot. But that would appear any unlikely route, with so much onus put on England's engine room of Stokes, Bairstow and Moeen Ali at six, seven and eight.

The role Moeen's offspin plays will be vital with Australia sure to go after him - although that has often been a reason for Moeen's success at Test level - and Crane's nomination as the second spinner is something of a gamble should injury strike and he be thrust into the side at the last moment. However, Crane, who made his T20I debut against South Africa in June, has already impressed on Australian soil, being selected for New South Wales last season on the back of his performances in grade cricket.

England will also have further back-up options in Australia during the first part of the tour the Lions being based in Brisbane ahead of the first Test, then relocating to Perth where they will play some T20 cricket. That squad is due to be named early next week and is likely to be largely stocked with those who narrowly missed out on the main squad. Westley and Keaton Jennings can expect to feature as can Steven Finn and possibly Somerset's Jack Leach.

England's Ashes squad: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes