Edgbaston return for Harmison?
Steve Harmison could find himself back in the England squad on Saturday as they look to restore parity against South Africa.
Last Updated: 26/07/08 10:43am
Steve Harmison could find himself back in the England squad on Saturday as they look to restore parity against South Africa in next week's third npower Test at Edgbaston.
The Durham paceman has not been picked since he and new-ball partner Matthew Hoggard were axed following England's heavy defeat to New Zealand in Hamilton back in March.
A retreat to the county circuit has given the 29-year-old the chance to sychronise his pace and direction once more - Harmison consistently clocking 90 miles per hour in Durham's televised matches.
England were one down with two Tests to play against the Black Caps when Harmison was dropped in the spring - the tourists subsequently coming back to earn a 2-1 series victory.
Hosting the Proteas, Michael Vaughan's side find themselves in the same situation, with Harmison's pace now seen as a solution to their problems - England currently with a haul of just 13 wickets from 344.3 overs bowled.
"We now know we have to win two games to win the series, and have to create a side which is capable of that at Edgbaston, which as a ground is different to Headingley," said national selector Geoff Miller.
"We have discussed all kinds of things: extra pace, whether it will turn more, or whether it is anticipated to swing."
Expanding the party from the more usual dozen men offers the chance to cover all the bases should weather or pitch conditions throw up any surprises.
Although left-armer Ryan Sidebottom is anticipated to return following the back injury which ruled him out of the second Test at Headingley, Miller confirmed: "You always need options.
"Ryan has been an extremely important member of the squad, and indeed side, since he came back last year.
"But it is not just about taking 20 wickets - yes we need to do that - it is about scoring runs as well, and 200 in the first innings (at Headingley) is simply not enough."
Aside from the introduction of extra speed, England are likely to stick with the original 12 dispatched to Leeds last week, which would mean returns to county action for Darren Pattinson and Chris Tremlett.
The shock selection of England-born but Australia-raised Pattinson after just 11 first-class games has come to signify England's current malaise, with subsequent disagreements on his promotion hardly helping.
Coach Peter Moores and captain Vaughan might also consider recalling Paul Collingwood in the middle-order and reverting to a four-man attack, after Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson came through their marathon second Test workload unscathed.
Whatever the combination, it appears Stuart Broad may be given a break despite his eye-catching, unbeaten innings of 67 last time out.
Although the 22-year-old averages over 40 with the bat, he is in the side primarily for his worth with the ball and his successes to date have come at nearly 50 apiece.
"He's at number eight, because predominantly he is in the team to try to get us wickets," Vaughan said.
"He just lacked a little bit of rhythm this week, that's all - that can happen to someone who doesn't have much experience.
"He's a young lad and has done extremely well for us over the last few months.
"He is a talent and someone we want to monitor and keep a close eye on - because he'll be in and around the England team for many years to come."
Moores hinted at Broad being rested when he said: "You can't expect the finished article in a 22-year-old because he has to get stronger and fitter.
"He will get more skilful, but in most games we are seeing him do something quite exciting.
"I wouldn't say we would be loathe to leave him out but we've got to manage him, like everyone else.
"We've got to look after him, but also pick the best side for England. With young bowlers we have to be careful to a degree, because people get injured."