LONDON // Batsmen Ian Bell was named today in England's 13-man squad for the third Ashes Test against Australia, starting at Edgbaston on Thursday. The 27-year-old right-hander, who has not played international cricket since February, comes into the side after Kevin Pietersen was ruled out of the rest of the series following surgery on an Achilles tendon injury. The English Cricket Board (ECB) also include bowlers Stephen Harmison and Monty Panesar in the 13-man squad which otherwise remains unchanged from the side that beat Australia by 115 runs at Lords.
"Kevin's injury has presented an opportunity for Ian Bell who we know is a top-class batsmen with an excellent international record for England," selector, Geoff Miller, said in a statement. "Ian will be looking to make the most of his return to the side during an Ashes series and while we have a strong idea of where he will bat we won't be disclosing the final line-up of the side until the toss on Thursday."
"Although we haven't named any extra batting cover in the squad we have several options should the need arise to call in another batsmen," he added. All-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who will retire from Test cricket after the Ashes series, is expected to play despite knee problems following his five wicket haul at Lord's. "Andrew and the medical staff are quite bullish about his prospects of playing but we'll continue to monitor his progress in the days leading up to Thursday," Miller said.
Andrew Strauss (Captain), James Anderson, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Alastair Cook, Andrew Flintoff, Stephen Harmison, Graham Onions, Monty Panesar, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann. * Reuters