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Harmison left out by England

Panesar and Onions get the nod in squad for Ashes opener

Harmison: Omitted

Steve Harmison and Adil Rashid have been omitted from England's squad for the first Ashes Test, despite putting in impressive performances for the England Lions.

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"We were keen to show consistency in selection and retain the nucleus of the side that performed so well against West Indies in the Test series earlier this summer."

Geoff Miller

Quotes of the week

Durham fast bowler Harmison claimed six wickets in the drawn match against Australia in Worcester, including the scalp of dangerous opener Phil Hughes in both innings.

Yorkshire leg-spinner Rashid also scored a half-century and took a wicket in the match to put pressure on the selectors, but in the end Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann have been given the nod.

Harmison's Durham team-mate Graham Onions, who claimed 10 wickets in the one-sided series win over West Indies earlier this summer, and batsman Ian Bell have been included in addition to the England XI that drew with Warwickshire on Friday.

Encouragement

National selector Geoff Miller said: "We were delighted with the way in which the team performed in the warm-up match at Edgbaston and it was very encouraging to see Andrew Flintoff bowl so well on his return to the side.

"We were keen to show consistency in selection and retain the nucleus of the side that performed so well against West Indies in the Test series earlier this summer.

"Graham Onions has made an excellent start to his Test career and gives us a different option when we consider the make-up of our bowling attack and the type of conditions we will encounter."

Yorkshire all-rounder Tim Bresnan has dropped out of the squad having featured for the first time against West Indies to accommodate the return of Flintoff from injury.

Left-arm spinner Panesar also returns after missing the West Indies series, while both Harmison and Nottinghamshire left-arm seamer Ryan Sidebottom have received encouragement from Miller for the future.

"There is healthy competition for places in our starting line-up at present and the strong performance by the England Lions against Australia at Worcester demonstrated that we are starting to develop a larger squad of players who can compete effectively with international class players," he said.

The first Ashes Test starts in Cardiff on Wednesday.

England squad: Andrew Strauss (capt), Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior (wkt), Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Monty Panesar, Ian Bell, Graham Onions