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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Collingwood v Anderson
By Martin Gough

England's selectors have to decide between paceman James Anderson and all-rounder Paul Collingwood now that Simon Jones has been ruled out of the fifth and final Ashes Test at The Oval.

James Anderson and Paul Collingwood are looking for a starting spot at The Oval

Jones failed a fitness test on his injured ankle on Tuesday and, as the revelation of the series, his loss will be a big blow to England.

The Glamorgan man had claimed 18 wickets at an average of 21.00, gaining reverse swing to take his wickets in clutches, including a career-best 6-53 at Old Trafford in the third Test.

But who will England turn to now Jones is out?

JAMES ANDERSON

The Lancastrian burst onto the scene during the one-day portion of England's last tour of Australia as a bowler who could swing the ball away at pace.

James Anderson
Anderson has been in steady form for Lancashire this year
Since then, he has suffered a crisis of confidence amid attempts on the part of England management to make his action more consistent.

This year he is among the top 10 English-qualified wicket-takers with 51, but his average of 31.80 is nothing to write home about.

David Graveney said Anderson, who has a central contract, had previous big match experience against Australia, which is why he was chosen for the squad.

If he was picked on Thursday it would mean England could retain a four-pronged pace attack.

But many commentators believe England will probably not risk Anderson in such a huge game and on a batting-friendly pitch would prefer the extra batting option.

PAUL COLLINGWOOD

As England only need to draw this final Test to claim the Ashes, they could opt for another all-rounder in the squad who will bolster their batting line-up.

Paul Collingwood
Collingwood would be seen as a negative selection
He has played against Australia already this summer in the one-day series, scoring 53 in the tied NatWest Series final, and 46 in the Twenty20 international.

Medium-pacer Collingwood has taken 39 one-day wickets for England in 80 matches, and has 19 first-class victims for Durham this year.

If conditions favour traditional swing he could be difficult to score off but is not a frontline attacking option at Test level.

A mid-season purple patch with the bat has taken him to an aggregate of 1059 runs at an average of 58.83 in the County Championship.

But bringing him in could upset the balance of a side that has passed 400 batting first in each of the last two Tests.

He is unlikely to carry the same bowling workload as Jones, which would mean Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard in particular bowling extra overs.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Lancashire coach Mike Watkinson


Interview: England's Paul Collingwood



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