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LONDON (AFP) – England included the uncapped duo of Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes and Lancashire left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan in a 14-man squad announced Sunday for next week's fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval.
Woakes, already a one-day international, was brought in after pace bowling all-rounder Tim Bresnan, who starred with bat and ball in England's 74-run fourth Test win at Chester-le-Street concluded Monday, was ruled out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his lower back.
And with pitches at The Oval renowned for taking turn, Kerrigan was added to give England -- who've now won three successive Test series against Australia for the first time since the 1950s -- an extra spin option in addition to off-break bowler Graeme Swann.
England also gave themselves further fast-bowling choices with the inclusion of Chris Tremlett, who if selected will be playing on his Surrey home ground in south London, and Middlesex's Steven Finn, dropped after the 14-run first Test win over Australia at Trent Bridge.
"The inclusion of five pace bowlers as well as an additional spinner in Simon Kerrigan, who has impressed with Lancashire and England Lions in recent years, gives (coach) Andy Flower and (captain) Alastair Cook plenty of options once they have assessed the conditions at the Kia Oval," said England national selector Geoff Miller in an England and Wales Cricket Board statement.
Miller also said he hoped Bresnan would be fit for the return Ashes series in Australia starting in November.
"Tim Bresnan has made valuable contributions with both bat and ball during the series and I would like to wish him all the very best in his recovery from his back injury," said Miller.
"The focus for Bresnan now will be the tour of Australia later this year, while this Test will provide an opportunity for another member of this squad to make equally vital contributions," former England off-spinner Miller added.
Tremlett, who starred in England's 3-1 Ashes win in Australia in 2010/11, played the last of his 11 Tests against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year, with the towering 31-year-old's career blighted by injuries.
Until recently, Sussex's Monty Panesar was England's 'second spinner' behind Swann but the 48-times capped left-armer's fine for drunkenly urinating in public in the south coast resort town of Brighton earlier this month is understood to have appalled team management as much as it did many others within English cricket.
But there are sound cricketing reasons behind the inclusion of the 24-year-old Kerrigan, whose 47 wickets, albeit in the Second Division, at 20.23 make him the leading spinner in County Championship cricket so far this season.
Kerrigan's latest Lions appearance saw him take one for 66 in 17 overs against the Australians in this week's drawn two-day fixture at Wantage Road.
Meanwhile England decided against cover for star batsman Kevin Pietersen, passed fit earlier in the week despite his troublesome knee problem.
Even though Jonny Bairstow has struggled in the middle order this series with 203 runs at 29, that was not enough to persuade the selectors to call up either James Taylor or Gary Ballance, who scored a hundred for the Lions against Australia.
England, who at 3-0 up have already retained the Ashes and won the series, will be looking to win four matches in a home Test series against Australia for the first time when the clash with their arch-rivals starts on Wednesday.
Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Kevin Pietersen (Surrey), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Matt Prior (Sussex, wkt), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Graeme Swann (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Chris Tremlett (Surrey), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire)