Root: Hampshire talent will embrace Ashes debut

England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight
England's Mason Crane will make his England Test debut when the fifth Ashes Test begins at Sydney Cricket Ground tonight
The Ageas Bowl is the venue for two key meetings in February. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Mason Crane will become England’s youngest frontline spinner for 91 years when he makes his Test debut in the Ashes tonight.

The Hampshire leg-spinner, 20, will replace the injured Chris Woakes in Sydney, with the tourists training 3-0 in the series.

And England captain Joe Root is confident Crane, who made his international twenty20 debut at the Ageas Bowl in June, has the mettle to cope with the occasion.

‘The way he has conducted himself for the whole trip has been outstanding,’ he said.

‘For a young man to apply himself and absorb himself in the environment as he has is exactly what you are after.

‘I can see a big progression in his game and the way he went about those twenty20s in an England shirt shows he is not going to back down from any challenge.

‘He has bowled well when he has had the opportunities on this trip and it is a really good chance for him to show what he is capable of.’

England are set to retain Moeen Ali for the final Ashes Test, giving them two spin options to Australia’s sole slow bowler, Nathan Lyon.

Root added: ‘On this surface, Mason is going to be a really good option. It looks like it should give a bit of turn throughout.

‘It generally does here anyway but it looks like it has definitely dried out in the last 24 hours.

‘That is why we have gone with two spinners and a leg-spinner could be quite hard work late on in the game.’

Crane, who was born in Shoreham, will be the youngest specialist spinner since Ian Peebles – another leggie – in 1927.

He has played 29 first-class matches and taken 75 wickets at an average of 43.98 and with a best return of five for 35.

Crane took 16 wickets in County Championship division one last season as Hampshire escaped the clutches of relegation.