England opt for spin twins
Hosts go with Swann and Panesar in Cardiff
Last Updated: July 8, 2009 6:31pm
Swann (left) and Panesar: united for Cardiff mission
England have named two spinners, Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, in their line-up for the Ashes opener in Cardiff.
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As expected, left-arm spinner Panesar was preferred to Durham paceman Graham Onions for the final place in the starting XI.
The only other change to the team that beat West Indies in the second Test in May is the return from injury of all-rounder Andrew Flintoff.
England captain Andrew Strauss won the toss and decided to bat first on a dry-looking pitch at the Swalec Stadium.
Australia, already without Brett Lee due to an abdominal injury, sprung a surprise by leaving out experienced seamer Stuart Clark in order to accommodate swing specialist Ben Hilfenhaus.
Off-spinner Nathan Hauritz was also picked as part of a four-man attack alongside Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Hilfenhaus.
The top five of Phil Hughes, Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Michael Hussey was already set in stone.
Marcus North, who scored 191 not out in the final warm-up match against the England Lions and also bowls off-spin, will bat at number six, meaning no place for all-rounder Andrew McDonald.
England: A Strauss (capt), A Cook, R Bopara, K Pietersen, P Collingwood, M Prior (wkt), A Flintoff, S Broad, G Swann, J Anderson, M Panesar
Australia: P Hughes, S Katich, R Ponting (capt), M Clarke, M Hussey, M North, B Haddin (wkt), M Johnson, P Siddle, N Hauritz, B Hilfenhaus