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Ashes chance for England hopefuls

PUBLISHED: 18:30 16 August 2017

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones (left) looks on as Stuart Broad catches the pink ball during en England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones (left) looks on as Stuart Broad catches the pink ball during en England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Westley, Malan and Roland-Jones to face West Indies

Essex's Tom Westley during an England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA) Essex's Tom Westley during an England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Essex’s Tom Westley and Middlesex duo Dawid Malan and Toby Roland-Jones have the chance to cement their places in the England Test squad for this winter’s Ashes according to captain Joe Root.

England begin their three-match series against the West Indies with a day-night Test at Edgbaston on Thursday, having defeated South Africa 3-1 recently.

Westley scored 122 runs in four innings at number three, including a maiden Test half-century, while Malan could only make 35 at number five.

Clubmate Roland-Jones scored 63 further down the order and made a notable impression with the ball, taking 10 wickets at an average of 22.20, including a 5-57 haul on debut at The Oval.

Middlesex's Dawid Malan catches the pink ball during an England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA) Middlesex's Dawid Malan catches the pink ball during an England nets session at Edgbaston (pic Nick Potts/PA)

All three have been named in the England side, with Chris Woakes deemed not fully ready to play a Test after suffering a side strain earlier this summer.

And Root said: “It’s an opportunity for the guys in this series to stamp their mark on the Test team.

“It’s an exciting place for us as a team. If lads can take their chances, that will stand us in good stead going forward. I think Toby deserves his opportunity.”

It will be England’s first-ever day-night Test, with play starting at 2pm, and a chance to get used to playing with a pink ball ahead of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

Players featured for their county teams during a round of day-night Championship matches in June, when Westley’s title-chasing Essex beat Middlesex at Chelmsford, but there are concerns among some about using the pink ball.

Root seems less worried, though, and says his side will have to work hard to beat the unfancied West Indies.

He added: “It might be slightly different when the lights come on. Ultimately it’s still the same game and you still have to adapt to the conditions.

“If we do that well we should be in a good position come the end of it.

“I’ve never played an easy game of Test cricket. They have some talented players mixed with guys who have been around a bit.

“We will have to play well to beat them. We are favourites, but Test cricket is never easy. It will be hard work and we’ll have to play well to come out on top.”

The second Test is at Headingley (August 25-29), with the third at Lord’s (September 7-11).

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