The Investec Ashes 2015 August 1, 2015

Footitt, Plunkett in 14-man England squad

England have brought in Mark Footitt and Liam Plunkett as pace-bowling options for the fourth Investec Ashes Test, where they will be without James Anderson. Adam Lyth is also set to continue as opener after retaining his place in the 14-man squad.

Footitt, the rapid Derbyshire left-armer, is uncapped and has never previously been part of an England squad, while Plunkett's last Test appearance was over a year ago. Mark Wood, who played the first two Tests of the series before being replaced by Steven Finn at Edgbaston, is considered the favourite to step in after Anderson suffered a side injury in the third Test, which England won to go 2-1 up in the series.

The calls for Footitt and Plunkett are in line with England's selection methods, despite suggestions that they could look to county cricket for a swing-bowling replacement for Anderson. Both took part in the training camp in Spain ahead of the Ashes, when the players met new coach Trevor Bayliss, and Footitt has been used as a net bowler due to his left-arm angle of attack.

The likes of Chris Rushworth, the leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket this year, and Jack Brooks have seemingly been overlooked in favour of quicker options. Although Footitt is 29, he has taken 225 first-class wickets at 25.22 since joining Derbyshire in 2010 and knows Trent Bridge from his time with Nottinghamshire. If he were to make his Test debut, he would be the first from Derbyshire since Dominic Cork in 1995.

Plunkett has only played two Championship games for Yorkshire this year but featured in England's ODIs against New Zealand before picking up a thigh injury and did a creditable job when recalled to the Test team in 2014.

Wood has a history of injuries and was left out at Edgbaston due to a sore ankle but impressed during a run of four Tests; he also has a good record at Trent Bridge, with 15 wickets at 22.53 in three appearances there for Durham. Still, it will be a major task to fill in for Anderson, who has taken 53 Test wickets at 19.24 at the venue for the fourth Test, which begins on Thursday.

The other major selection quandary was whether to stick with Lyth, who is currently averaging 12.00 with the bat against Australia. While names such as Alex Hales, who opens for England in ODI and T20 cricket, and Mark Stoneman had been floated, Lyth is set to get another chance to fulfill the promise evident when making a century in his second Test, against New Zealand earlier this summer.

Uncapped left-armer Mark Footitt has previously been a net bowler with England © Getty Images

England's national selector, James Whitaker, said: "With James Anderson missing this Test through injury and some concerns over Mark Wood's workload in the build up to the last Test we felt that bringing in two extra bowlers in Liam Plunkett and Mark Footitt was necessary. The reports on Wood are positive at this stage and we are hopeful he'll be available for selection on Thursday.

"Congratulations to Liam and Mark Footitt on their selection and on behalf of the selectors I'd like to wish Alastair and Trevor all the very best for the fourth Test. The performance at Edgbaston this week was very encouraging and it is important we build on that next week at Trent Bridge."

Although the loss of Anderson is a blow, England will head to Nottingham in buoyant mood after retaking the lead in the series. Victory at Trent Bridge would see them recapture the Ashes but that requires them to overcome a sequence that has seen their last four Test wins immediately followed by defeat.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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