How England's new faces stack up as Ashes looms

Mark Stoneman

England's Mark Stoneman has played just one Test series.

England's Mark Stoneman has played just one Test series. Photo: AP

???The 30-year-old left-handed opener was given his chance in the three-Test series against the West Indies and did enough to convince selectors he was worth a seat on the plane to Australia. In five innings, he averaged 30 with a top score of 52 and a 40 not out at Lords. Reputed to be an elegant stroke maker, Stoneman has campaigned diligently for Durham (since 2007) and then Surrey (from 2016), where he linked with their Tasmanian batting mentor Michael di Venuto. He stands to open with Alastair Cook in Brisbane, on steamy conditions against a top-shelf attack on a bouncy deck. It's no small thing but he will have some local support in the stands. He met his Australian wife, Serene, while playing grade for St George in Sydney in 2008.

???Dawid Malan

England's Dawid Malan is a bit-hitter.

England's Dawid Malan is a big-hitter. Photo: PA

Malan is a power-hitting southpaw who loves to play off the back foot, which might come in handy on most of the Australian pitches. He can also roll the arm over for a few leggies if the situation calls for a cameo from a part-timer. At 30, he has long been touted as a potential national player before finally getting his chance against South Africa in the English summer. Sadly for him, he copped an unplayable yorker from Kagiso Rabada on debut at The Oval and left bereft of runs (one) but became a fleeting social media star. Mitchell Starc may have noticed. He's played another four Tests since and comes to Australia with an average of 23 and top score of 65, that being in a fighting knock in Birmingham against the West Indies.

James Vince

James Vince is yet to score a half-century at Test level.

James Vince is yet to score a half-century at Test level. Photo: AP

There's more to James Vince than just having two first names. He's another set to tour with the reputation of being pretty to watch when he's seeing them well, although he's yet to make it past 42 in seven Tests since making his first appearance against Sri Lanka in England in 2016. Armed with a quality cover drive, which also brings risks of its own against a rising ball, Vince has yet to really take his chance in Test cricket by the throat. Should the Australian quicks seize on any self-doubt, it may well be a tricky start to the tour for the 26-year-old from Hampshire.

Mason ???Crane

Mason Crane has had a meteoric rise.

Mason Crane has had a meteoric rise. Photo: AAP

It's been 67 years since a leg spinner has been picked as part of an Ashes touring party but the 20-year-old has broken the drought. He's a name that should be familiar to NSW fans, in particular, given Crane was the first international to play Sheffield Shield for the state since Imran Khan in 1985. Crane spent last summer campaigning for Gordon and took the gong for the most wickets in top grade cricket with 45. Then, he nabbed five against South Australia at the SCG when called up to the next level. Was in the England squad against the West Indies but has yet to see action. It would be a massive gamble to throw him in at the Gabba, where all but a select few spinners have struggled to find their range.

Ben Foakes

Ben Foakes, right, with Surrey teammate Moises Henriques.

Ben Foakes, right, with Surrey teammate Moises Henriques. Photo: PA

Very keen to hear "Bowled Woakes, caught Foakes'' once or twice. Foakes, 24, has yet to play a Test match but many feel he is the best wicketkeeper in county cricket. As is often the case in modern cricket, having the best hands doesn't always equal the top job, with Jonny Bairstow the current gloveman. But Bairstow could yet be bumped up the order to steady England's batting, meaning Foakes gets his chance to face the Australians. He can bat as well, making eight centuries in the county ranks in 76 first-class matches, averaging a shade under 43. Expect to see him at some stage if the English middle order fails to fire.

Chris Woakes

England's Chris Woakes celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Rahat Ali.

England's Chris Woakes celebrates taking the wicket of Pakistan's Rahat Ali. Photo: PA

???He's not exactly a newcomer, given he's played 18 Tests, but the allrounder may not be particularly well known to Australian audiences, although he made his debut in 2013 against Australia at The Oval. He was excellent for England in 2016 but was dumped for the third of three Tests against the West Indies for Toby Roland-Jones, who won't be given an Ashes ticket due to injury. Woakes averages 32 with the bat but hasn't been able to find the kind of big score that would cement his place in the team. His right-arm quickish medium pace has seen him claim 50 wickets at 30. Might be the kind of bowler that can get some joy with the older ball in Brisbane. Had a stint with the Sydney Thunder in 2013. Will also complete the Stokes-Woakes-Foakes trifecta. Holy smokes.

Jake Ball

England's Jake Ball will likley be a fill-in for the tourists.

England's Jake Ball will likely be a fill-in for the tourists. Photo: PA

A tall fast-medium seamer, the 26-year-old Ball stands to be one of the back-up options for the Ashes on his maiden tour. Ball has played three Tests, starting off against Pakistan in England in 2016, then a pair against India at Mumbai and Chennai. It's fair to say he wasn't an instant success; he's taken two wickets at 114, although it's fair to say neither of those latter pair of Tests were on a fast bowler's paradise. He's not a hopeless lower order bat.

Craig Overton

Craig Overton will likely play tour games at best, but could squeeze into the Test team through injury.

Craig Overton will likely play tour games at best, but could squeeze into the Test team through injury. Photo: PA

The Somerset quick was given a two-match ban in December of 2015 for abusive language so will probably fit right in on an Ashes tour. The 23-year-old has 183 wickets at 26 in the County Championship and does bowl with some hostility when he gets it right. Injuries to players like Roland-Jones have opened the door for Overton, who will be given the chance of a lifetime if he finds a way into England's first-choice attack. Look for him to get an opportunity on the tour games.

This story How England's new faces stack up as Ashes looms first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.