England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, The Kia Oval July 20, 2017

Westley, Malan named in 13-man England squad

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Quick facts: Tom Westley's first-class exploits

Essex's Tom Westley will make his Test debut at No.3 in the third Test against South Africa at The Kia Oval next week, after being named as a direct replacement for Gary Ballance in a 13-man squad.

Westley, whose name has often been mentioned in dispatches in recent seasons, has enjoyed a timely prolific run with three centuries in his last six first-class innings, the most recent being an unbeaten 106 for England Lions against the South Africans.

That hundred continued a notable record of making runs against touring sides: last season he scored 108 against the Sri Lankans to follow a 99 against the same opposition in 2011, while in 2015 he scored 144 against an Australia attack including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.

"I'm desperate to play for England, it would an absolute honour," Westley told The Independent, prior to his call-up. "I've felt good the last few years at Essex. My first-class record has been very good. I've scored runs for the Lions and scored runs against the touring first-class teams - I've been in a good space for a number of years. So if there's ever a time to play it would be now.

Tom Westley has been in prolific form for Essex and England Lions © Getty Images

"I'd like to think facing international attacks brings the best out of me," he added. "Getting the hundred against Australia and backing it up against Sri Lanka and then South Africa, I'd like to think it's not just a fluke.

"Whether I raise my game or whether my game is just suited to that I don't know until I'm exposed to it at Test level. But I can just take a lot of confidence from the fact I've scored those runs against some good bowlers and good attacks. It puts me in quite a good place."

Westley has been named alongside another new name in the Test squad in Middlesex's Dawid Malan, who could yet feature if England decide to included an extra batsman, probably at the expense of the spinner Liam Dawson, when they confirm their starting line-up next week.

Malan made his England debut last month in the deciding T20 against South Africa in Cardiff, where he impressed with 78 off 44 balls. He has been a consistent performer with Middlesex in red-ball cricket, averaging 42.50 in the Specsavers County Championship this season with a highest score of 115.

The notable omission from the squad is Surrey's Mark Stoneman, who had been considered the frontrunner to replace Ballance following the diagnosis of a broken left index finger, sustained while batting in the second innings at Trent Bridge last week.

Stoneman, who moved to Surrey from Durham over the winter, has been averaging 58.53 from eight Championship matches, including three centuries with a high score of 197. At 30, he has had time to groove a well-rounded game, but perhaps tellingly, the England coach Trevor Bayliss has never yet seen him bat in the flesh.

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England could feature as many as three debutants at The Oval, which will be hosting its 100th Test, if they opt to give a maiden cap to the Middlesex seamer, Toby Roland-Jones, who has been retained in the squad after going unused in the first two Tests of the summer. He may be considered an option ahead of Durham's Mark Wood, who sustained a bruised heel in a sub-par performance at Trent Bridge.

England will report to The Oval on Tuesday, where they will train in the afternoon, having taken a few days off in the wake of their crushing 340-run defeat in the second Test.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricinfouser on July 25, 2017, 13:16 GMT

    Nick Compton had his chance and failed,would have made sense to play Stoneman on his home ground.

  • Martin on July 21, 2017, 9:23 GMT

    okay let's clear some of this up. stoneman would not get picked on his average which is poor. but he has performed consistently well in the last four seasons. similar arguments apply to Westley and Malan. Hamed has made no significant first class runs this year. picking him now could set his career back terminally.

  • Praveen on July 21, 2017, 8:35 GMT

    England selectors are doing their very best to screw up their Test Cricket. Stoneman deserved a chance for atleast the last 2 years. Don't tell me there were no spots. There are. Else Ballance, Duckett wouldn't have played as many tests as they did. Wood and Dawson do not deserve a place in the test team. It hurts to see Test Cricket not given priority in England. This was never the case before. Now a days they see it as an entertainment business. Gutted!

  • dhanis5452962 on July 21, 2017, 6:43 GMT

    i would bring in nick compton as opening pair for cook,

  • Waqas on July 20, 2017, 23:55 GMT

    Still no sign of adil rashid? The highest wicket taker for England since debut.

  • Geoffrey Bunting on July 20, 2017, 20:35 GMT

    If i were Stoneman, and a number of other seasoned professionals, I would be wondering what the hell I need to do. Runs for years on one of the best pitches for seam in the country, moves to Surrey and scores buckets more, yet can't get a look in even in a game on your home ground. Talented picks, for sure, but Stoneman has deserved a chance for a while.

  • Bryce on July 20, 2017, 20:16 GMT

    How is Stoneman a notable omission? The vacancy is in the middle order they have two openers and Hameed is next cab off the rank.

  • chrlsb5415681 on July 20, 2017, 19:04 GMT

    Westley is a form player who has scored on the big stage many times . Test cricket will be tough for him against this attack though especially if england lose an early wicket. Stoneman may be kept for the west indies, especially if Jennings keeps failing. Can Ballance get back in! Clarke and Lawrence have potential for future honours and are right handers.

  • talata8373216 on July 20, 2017, 18:41 GMT

    I'll pick Roland jones, westley and malan in place of wood, Dawson and omitted ballance.

  • pbcfl02321737 on July 20, 2017, 15:56 GMT

    Dawson and Wood still on the team? No real improvement made to the team. SA is now favorites to win this series l.

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