LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 24: Chris Woakes of England celebrates dismissing Wayne Parnell of South Africa during the 1st Royal London ODI match between England and South Africa at Headingley on May 24, 2017 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

England make changes to Test squad for final hitout before Ashes series

England has made several changes to its squad to face the West Indies at home next week following its recent win over the Proteas.

The old enemy won the series against South Africa 3-1, however, there were frailties revealed in its top order of the batting line-up in particular.

With the Ashes just a few months away, the side has swung the axe as it looks to finalise its best team for the all important series.

Opener Keaton Jennings, who averaged just 15.87 runs in the series has been dropped and replaced by Surrey batsman Mark Stoneman, who is set to become Alastair Cook’s latest opening batting partner.

Stoneman, who will become Cook’s 12th opening partner in five years since the retirement of Andrew Strauss, has amassed a brilliant 1,000 runs at first-class level this season, at an average of 58.82.

The 30-year-old is not the only change, with Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane and all-rounder Chris Woakes also added to the squad.

Should Crane keep his place for the Ashes, he will be no stranger to Australian conditions, having played one match for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield last season. In doing so, he became the first overseas player to play for NSW in over 30 years.

Meanwhile, Woakes returns from injury to replace Steven Finn.

England’s first Test against the West Indies begins on August 17 at Edgbaston, before matches at Headingley on August 25 and Lord’s on September 7.

England’s first Test squad v West Indies: Alastair Cook (Essex), Mark Stoneman (Surrey), Tom Westley (Essex), Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), Dawid Malan (Middlesex), Ben Stokes (Durham), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mason Crane (Hampshire).

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