Ollie Robinson back for second Test as England look to level series against South Africa

Proteas aim to finish job at Old Trafford after innings victory in opening match

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England fast bowler Ollie Robinson has been recalled for the second Test against South Africa as the hosts bid to level the three-match series.

Sussex pacer Robinson, who last played for England in the final Ashes Test in January, replaces Matthew Potts for the match at Old Trafford which starts on Thursday.

England will need to raise their game considerably after losing the opening match at Lord's by an innings and 12 runs.

England's all-out attacking approach to batting fetched them wins against New Zealand and India. But captain Ben Stokes now faces a real challenge to his team's new philosophy.

Following a poor Ashes series, where his approach to fitness were questioned by the England coaching staff, Robinson – who has 39 wickets in nine Tests at an average of 21.28 – missed the subsequent tour of the West Indies with back spasms.

He was due to play for a County Select XI against New Zealand in May, only to miss out with a stiff back, before a bout of Covid-19 caused him to spend more time on the sidelines.

A strong showing for England Lions during their recent tour match against the Proteas confirmed he was in more robust shape and Stokes paid tribute to his efforts after confirming his recall.

"I was very honest and truthful with Robbo. I feel that's something people deserve. Rather than just have a conversation and getting through it easy, I'd rather let him know exactly where I stand," he said of the pair's initial exchanges.

"That enabled him to go away and work on what has been asked of him. All I can say is he's done that to the absolute extreme. He's worked hard behind the scenes.

"I think it's obviously been a very difficult time for Ollie because it wasn't that his form was letting him down. It was his body. That's obviously a very tough thing to deal with. But I think he can look back on that and use it as something to always to look back on and to gain experience from that.

"He's here in the team and he's playing this week. So everything that's gone on in the past is something that he's obviously grown from, and he's learned a lot from about himself. Not just as a person but as a player."

Meanwhile, opener Zak Crawley retained his place despite another poor outing at Lord's where he scored nine and 13.

Updated: August 24, 2022, 12:28 PM
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