Sam Curran beats Chris Woakes to the final spot in England XI for Test opener with New Zealand – The Sun

SAM CURRAN has been given the nod ahead of Chris Woakes to play in next week’s First Test.

Surrey all-rounder Curran, 21, was named in the team for the final warm-up match against New Zealand A, starting Thursday night.

Captain Root and head coach Silverwood picked their intended Test XI – Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Joe Denly, Root, Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Jos Buttler (wkt), Curran, Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach.

Curran’s left-arm option and ability to swing the ball, coupled with Woakes’ poor record overseas, persuaded the hierarchy to go with the Surrey man.

Going into the match, the No8 spot in the team was the only berth up for grabs.

Sibley was always going to open with Rory Burns, particularly after hitting a superb century in the last-warm-up game.

Denly will bat at No3 after recovering from injury, allowing captain Root to slip down to his preferred slot at four.

Stokes, Pope and Buttler form a dynamic middle-order with Curran a more-than-capable No8.

Speed fiend Archer joins Broad a bespectacled Ashes hero Leach in the tail.

Ahead of the final tour match, Woakes had admitted he knew his place was in jeopardy with Curran up against him.

Woakes said: “Sam and I are potentially going for one slot. That’s the normal make-up of the team so it’s a case of putting your hand up with performances.

“It’s dangerous to think your place is guaranteed or you have your nose in front. You can’t take those things for granted.



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"It’s a different ball here, different conditions. I’ll just try to make it as hard as possible for the selectors to leave me out.

“It was a pretty flat pitch, a couple nipped with the new ball but it did little after that even though the surface was very green.

"It will be hard work with the Kookaburra ball in this series.”

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