England moved early to show its faith in Jonny Bairstow on Tuesday by keeping the wicketkeeper for the fourth Ashes Test next week at Old Trafford.
Bairstow was the only keeper in an unchanged 14-man squad.
England won the third Test on Sunday at Headingley to stay alive in the series and trail Australia 2-1 with two games to go.
Bairstow has played poorly behind the stumps, missing eight chances of varying difficulty in the first three games. He has also fired only once with the bat, making a run-a-ball 78 on the first day of the series. He has a combined 63 runs since then.
That has led to calls for Ben Foakes to be restored but the selectors resisted the temptation.
Bairstow was England’s Test player of the year in 2022 then broke his leg and dislocated his ankle in September in a freak accident on a golf course. Foakes took over but coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes promised to pick Bairstow when he was ready. His movement, however, still appeared limited.
The fourth Test starts on Wednesday next week.
Fast bowler Ollie Robinson was also retained despite back spasms preventing him from bowling more than 12 overs in the first inning and none in the second. He’s expected to make way for the return of James Anderson on his home ground.
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