Billings added to England’s Ashes squad

Sam Billings scored 284 runs at an average of 40.57 in this year’s Big Bash

Kent wicketkeeper Sam Billings has been added to England’s Ashes squad as cover after a series of injuries during the fourth Test against Australia.

Fellow keeper Jos Buttler is struggling with a hand problem and Jonny Bairstow, who has also kept wicket for England, injured his thumb while scoring 103 not out on day three in Sydney.

All-rounder Ben Stokes also has a side injury, picked up while bowling.

Billings, uncapped in Tests, has been playing in the Big Bash in Australia.

The 30-year-old was set to fly back to the UK on Thursday before England’s Twenty20 series against West Indies later this month but will instead join the Test squad in Sydney, subject to a period of isolation and a negative Covid-19 Test.

He averages 34.29 in first-class cricket with six centuries and has played 58 white-ball matches for England.

The fifth and final Test begins in Hobart on 14 January.

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