Kerrigan and Woakes named in squad
Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire left-arm spinner, and Warwickshire allrounder Chris Woakes have been named in England's squad for the final Investec Ashes Test at The Oval. There is also a recall for Steven Finn as part of a 14-man party, while James Anderson is included with no indication that a rest is on the cards for him.
With Tim Bresnan ruled out due to a stress fracture of his back and Graham Onions not available due to a broken finger, this squad was always likely to require the selectors to look at a new name or two. Kerrigan is uncapped at all full international levels while Woakes has previously played ODIs and T20s.
Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "The inclusion of five pace bowlers as well as an additional spinner in Simon Kerrigan who has impressed with Lancashire and England Lions in recent years gives Andy Flower and Alastair Cook plenty of options once they have assessed the conditions at the Oval.
"Tim Bresnan has made valuable contributions with both bat and ball during the series and I would like to wish him all the very best in his recovery from his back injury. The focus for Bresnan now will be the tour of Australia later this year while this Test will provide an opportunity for another member of this squad to make equally vital contributions."
Kerrigan, 24, is now in pole position to become Graeme Swann's No. 2 following the recent problems for Monty Panesar which have left his international future in doubt. Although it remains unlikely that England will play two spinners at The Oval, Kerrigan now looks set to tour Australia later this year for the return Ashes series.
Kerrigan, a regular England Lions representative, has taken 47 wickets at 20.23 in the Championship this season (albeit Division Two) which makes him the leading spinner in the country. He played against the Australians at Wantage Road in the two-day fixture and took 1 for 66 in 17 overs, although he did receive some punishment from Shane Watson.
Woakes, meanwhile, provides a Bresnan-like all-round option in the squad. He has been on the fringes of the Test side in recent times - he toured New Zealand and was one injury away from a debut - and has had another solid season for Warwickshire in the Championship, taking 26 wickets at 21.50 and scoring 385 runs at 42.77. He has been a frequent part of the England one-day set-up although has not secured a regular starting place in the XI.
Given England's desire for continuity, Bresnan's replacement is strongly tipped to be Chris Tremlett who has been part of the squad for the previous two matches. If Tremlett did return, on his homeground, it would be his first Test appearance since January 2012, against Pakistan, in the UAE, although questions remain about his long-term durability following a run of serious injuries over the last 18 months.
Finn, who was dropped after the Trent Bridge Test and removed from the squad after Lord's, is back in the mix. He has taken nine wickets in two Championship matches since being omitted.
No extra batting cover has been included in the squad which indicates that Kevin Pietersen's knee, which was scanned last week following the Durham Test, is not a significant concern although he, plus James Anderson and Stuart Broad, can expect to be rested during the one-day matches next month.
Jonny Bairstow, who has not convinced during the series with 203 runs at 29, will complete the series at No. 6 but will soon face pressure for his spot from James Taylor and Gary Ballance.
Squad Alastair Cook (capt), Joe Root, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Jonny Bairstow, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett, Simon Kerrigan, Steven Finn, Chris Woakes
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo