Moeen Ali has been named captain of the England XI that will play a two-day warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI at Richardson Park in Perth this weekend.
Moeen is the only man from the Test team defeated in Adelaide to play in the game. While the England camp insist he has recovered from a cut finger that compromised his effectiveness in Brisbane, they feel he failed to gain sufficient bowling ahead of the Test series due to a side strain that limited his involvement in the warm-up matches. Partially as a result, he has been comprehensively out-bowled by Nathan Lyon in the series to date. Moeen has taken two wickets at a cost of 98 apiece from 63 overs; Lyon has taken 11 at a cost of 22.72 from 109.1 overs.
The variation in performance between Moeen and Lyon has been one of the key differences in the series to date. While Australia have been able to rest and rotate their seamers to maintain an attacking edge to their game (Lyon has conceded just 2.29 runs per over and taken a wicket every 59.50 balls), Moeen has failed to pose much threat (he has taken a wicket every 189 deliveries) or control the run-rate as much as England would have liked (he is conceding 3.11 runs per over). England hope he will gain some rhythm and confidence form the two-day match with both the coach, Trevor Bayliss, and the captain, Joe Root, suggesting he will retain his place for the Perth Test.
Moeen will be joined in the side by the five members of the England squad who did not feature in Adelaide (Gary Ballance, Ben Foakes, Mason Crane, Jake Ball and Tom Curran) while six members of the England Lions squad (Ben Duckett, Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone and Mark Wood), who are now based in Perth at a training camp, have also been included to make-up the rest of the team. Foakes will keep wicket.
Perhaps the most intriguing of those inclusions from the Lions is Wood. If he is able to prove his fitness and bowl at his full pace, he could be added to the squad and could yet play a part in the Ashes. Leach, the left-arm spinner, is also included alongside other spinners Crane and Moeen.
England 12-man squad: Moeen Ali (capt), Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes (wk), Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Mark Wood.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
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