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London, July 28 – Trailing 1-2 in the Ashes 2023 series and shot out for 283 in their first innings in the fifth and final Test, England are sweating on the availability of all-rounder Moeen Ali for the remaining part of the match.
Moeen, England’s main spinner in the match, was hurt on Thursday evening while running between the wickets in England’s first innings on Thursday at The Oval and did not take to the field in the final session on day one.
With Australia resuming at 61/1 in their first innings and hoping to take a big lead, England will be looking up to Moeen Ali to trouble them with his spin bowling. The Oval wicket is renowned for turning and Australia will be batting last in the match, Moeen’s spin bowling could be a huge factor.
Thus, England’s medical staff will continue to monitor the injury, after Moeen clearly struggled to run with any power after suffering the issue with the bat.
After seeking on-field treatment when he pulled up lame on a run, Moeen, who is likely playing his last Test after returning from retirement specifically for this Ashes series, opted to take the long handle to Australia rather than retire hurt, scoring 23 runs in his next nine balls.
“Obviously he was in a fair bit of pain…Hopefully, later in the game, he might have a bit of a role to play,” said Harry Brook, who top-scored for England with 85 and was batting with Moeen when he got injured. Brook said Moeen decided to continue batting instead of retiring hurt.
“That was his decision really. As soon as the physio left the pitch he was like ‘should I just tee off now’. And I said you should’ve been doing that from the start. “He is one of the best power hitters in the world, and we have seen that in franchise cricket and white-ball cricket,” said Brook during the post-day press conference.
In case Moeen is unable to bowl in this Test, England will depend on Joe Root as their spin option after previously using him heavily in the first two Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s.
England are already unable to use skipper Ben Stokes’ bowling in this match due to his ongoing knee issues. Thus, their main bowling resources will be in the form of four pacers — Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad and James Anderson.