England considering two spinners for Ashes finale

Published: Monday, January 1, 2007, 17:34 [IST]
 

SYDNEY, Jan 1 (Reuters) England are considering playing a second spinner in the fifth and final Ashes test against Australia in Sydney.

Captain Andrew Flintoff said the selectors planned to meet today to discuss the possibility of playing uncapped Middlesex off-spinner Jamie Dalrymple.

''He's started his one-day international career well and when people do that they want to get into the test side and play the longer form of the game,'' Flintoff told a news conference.

''Jamie is no different -- I'm sure he's got the attributes to do that.'' The Sydney Cricket Ground traditionally favours spin bowlers and curator Tom Parker told reporters he expects the ball to turn early, prompting England to consider using Dalrymple in tandem with left-armer Monty Panesar.

The last time England picked two spinners in Australia was in 1991 when Phil Tufnell and Eddie Hemmings played in the drawn test in Sydney.

Dalrymple told reporters on the weekend he was desperate to play and Flintoff said his inclusion could help strengthen England's shaky batting line-up.

Sajid Mahmood is the most likely candidate to make way for Dalrymple. The Lancashire paceman took four wickets in Melbourne but made a pair of ducks with the bat.

''Jamie is a good all-round package. He's shown that in the one-dayers,'' Flintoff said.

''He's performed well with the ball and got important runs.

He's obviously a fine bowler and a capable batsman too.'' The 25-year-old was a late inclusion in the England squad, replacing Ashley Giles when the left-arm spinner returned home to be with his sick wife during the third test in Perth.

Kenyan-born Dalrymple has played 14 one-day internationals for England and fielded as a substitute during the fourth Ashes test in Melbourne.

Reuters SAM GC1538


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