Captain Alastair Cook has confirmed that Steven Finn will come into the England side for the third Test against Pakistan, which begins at Edgbaston on Wednesday (3 August). The inconsistent Middlesex seamer replaces Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, who sustained a calf injury while bowling on a decisive day four of the 330-run series-levelling victory at Old Trafford last month.
Stokes, the feisty 25-year-old, who was making his first return to international cricket since undergoing surgery to correct a cartilage tear in his left knee sustained against Sri Lanka in May, had to be helped off the field mid-over and was replaced by Moeen Ali. He later visited a specialist and received an MRI scan before being completely ruled out of the third Test following confirmation that the muscle was indeed torn.
Both Finn and Nottinghamshire rival Jake Ball featured in the opening 75-run defeat to Pakistan at Lord's. The duo also made the initial expanded 14-man squad for the second Test, only to be dropped from the revised team to make way for the returning Stokes and James Anderson.
"It's been such a tough decision," Cook told BBC Test Match Special after opting for Finn over Ball and Yorkshire spinner Adil Rashid. "Last night when I was umming and ahhing in bed about it, I didn't get much sleep and it's because, whichever way you argue, there was a case for both of them to play and a case for the other guy to play.
"It's amazing, if you started a conversation with someone, you could be dragged down that way. We've made the decision, I think it really was a 50/50 call and Jake is very unlucky but it gives Steven a great opportunity to show the bowler we know he can [be].
"I think it was this time last year when he got five for not very many against Australia and could have picked up even more than that because he bowled beautifully. Hopefully coming back here will be fond memories for him."