31 December 1998
Giles selected for final Ashes Test
LONDON, Dec 31 (AFP) - England have called-up left-arm spinner Ashley Giles into the squad for the final Test in Sydney on Saturday to increase their spin options for the expected turning pitch at the SCG.
The Warwickshire spinner has been acclimatising with the remainder of England's one-day party in Brisbane and was preparing to set off for Saturday's one-day match in Bowral against a Bradman XI when chairman of selectors David Graveney rang him and told him to divert to Sydney instead.
It would be a massive gamble by England to thrust Giles, whose last first-class match was against Kent at Edgbaston in September, into the Test with only a handful of net practices and nine overs during yesterday's one-day match against a Queensland Country XI under his belt.
But having learned of Australia's selection of Shane Warne, Colin Miller and Stuart MacGill in their squad, England are determined to cover all their options as they attempt to level the series following their momentous victory in Melbourne.
"The SCG has obviously got a history of turning and we just felt that with Ashley in the country, it gives us another option," said captain Alec Stewart.
"We've got two off-spinners and with a left-armer as well, if we were to play two or even three spinners it covers all options.
"We haven't seen the wicket yet so we will obviously assess it once we've had a look tomorrow, but reading between the lines as to how the SCG has played we will be playing at least one spinner and we haven't discounted two.
"It's a big task for him (Giles) if we go that way but it's almost no different really to Graeme Hick coming over and playing at Perth as a replacement for Graham Thorpe."
Giles, who returned from Brisbane with Robert Croft and John Crawley who are also included in the squad, admitted the early call from Graveney was completely out of the blue.
"I hadn't even thought about the Test to be honest," he said. "I was with the one-day squad working hard in the nets and preparing for the one-day series and thinking about nothing but one-day cricket."