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England name unchanged side for third Test

England have stood by out-of-form opener Alastair Cook to name an unchanged team for the third Test against Pakistan at The Oval.

Vice-captain Cook has managed only 100 runs in his last seven Test innings, with doubts arising over his place in the Ashes squad.

Selector Geoff Miller joined the Weekend Sports Breakfast to explain the decision, telling Mark Saggers and Micky Quinn: “It’s not just about technique and quality of play, it’s about strength of character as well. And we know what Alastair is capable of.”

Andrew Strauss’ men lead the four Test series 2-0 following convincing victories at Trent Bridge and Edgbaston.

The majority of the top order have shown good form, although left-hander Cook’s struggles have become increasingly pronounced, but Miller added: “There’s confidence within the side to know that whatever task is in front of them we have got players capable to surmount those.”

However, with only 41 runs in four innings during this series, Cook may be running out of time to convince the selectors that he is worthy of his place ahead of the Ashes squad this winter.

England team: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Matt Prior (wkt), Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Steven Finn. Bowling cover: Tim Bresnan

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