England recalled batsman Dawid Malan for the third test against India and dropped the opener, Dom Sibley, from the 15-man squad on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old Malan hasn’t played a test match in three years but is the world’s No. 1-ranked Twenty20 batsman. The third test begins at Headingley in Leeds next Wednesday.
Sibley scored just 57 runs in four innings against India this month. India won by 151 runs at Lord’s last week and the first match in the five-test series ended in a draw.
Zak Crawley was also dropped for the third test, making it likely that Haseeb Hameed will move up to open alongside Rory Burns. Malan is expected to bat at No. 3.
Seamer Saqib Mahmood was included and spinner Jack Leach is out, though he will be on standby as a backup to Moeen Ali.
Malan played the last of his 15 tests in August 2018 in England’s victory over India at Edgbaston. He has been in good form in the white-ball formats, scoring a 199 in first-class cricket at Headingley in June.
“Dawid Malan deserves his opportunity in the Test arena,” England head coach Chris Silverwood said. “He has a lot of experience across all formats and, if called upon, I am confident that he can come and do well on his home ground.”
Silverwood said Sibley “needs some time away to regain his confidence after a challenging period. He will return to Warwickshire to spend time in the middle without the scrutiny and find some rhythm and confidence.”
Likewise, the coach said Crawley “is still a massive part of our plans moving forward, but we feel he would benefit from time outside the pressure of international competition to get some time working on his skills.”
The 24-year-old Mahmood, uncapped at test level, was called in ahead of the second test as a standby after Stuart Broad sustained a series-ending calf injury. The squad reports to its Leeds base on Sunday.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood.