Tremlett set for England return
England's squad for the final Ashes Test will almost certainly contain Chris Tremlett, and perhaps batting cover again for Kevin Pietersen.
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Tremlett's anticipated return on his home ground, two weeks before his 32nd birthday for his first Test since breaking down in the desert against Pakistan 19 months ago, is the obvious response to the back injury which has ended fellow seamer Tim Bresnan's season early.
The probability is that England, who would surely otherwise have been unchanged after their series-clinching victory at Chester-le-Street, will name Tremlett and a fourth back-up seam-bowling option in a squad of 13 on Sunday.
Other possibilities include elevation for young Lancastrian slow left-armer Simon Kerrigan as a second spinner, an all-round option such as Ben Stokes to cover more bases or even a shot at a debut for improving and well-regarded Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance.
All the above are uncapped Lions, among whom Ballance took his opportunity to impress with a typically robust century in the rain-affected two-day tour match against Australia at Northampton.
In years gone by, the temptation to tinker might have been too much for old-style England management.
But Andy Flower's regime, and its selectors, is more measured in its methods.
Kerrigan, Stokes and Ballance can all harbour ambitions of potential involvement in Australia through the winter months - but it is not England's contemporary style to rush them into a debut for a spot of late-season experimentation or reconnaissance.
It would be a departure too, to make the change necessary to accommodate a new face.
For Stokes or Ballance, other than as a contingency for Pietersen's dodgy right knee, Jonny Bairstow would have to be the fall-guy at number six.
There have been times this summer when the young Yorkshireman's Test apprenticeship has looked decidedly shaky.
But his scores just about stack up, in a line-up which has been only modestly productive but bailed out by the prolific form of Ian Bell, and arguably Bairstow appeared a little more assured - although only to the tune of 28 runs - in his most recent innings.
The logical conclusion is therefore that he remains and, if England are unsure about Pietersen's readiness despite declaring him available after his midweek scan, James Taylor is the deputy - as he was in similar circumstances in Manchester just two Tests ago.
As for the seamers, Tremlett and Graham Onions have been primed for a return as and when required after their inclusion in squads ahead of Steven Finn.
Onions appears out of the equation after breaking a finger on Durham duty last week - which means Tremlett and Finn, in that order, will fit the bill if England go belt-and-braces.
Finn's loss of form was dramatic at the start of the series - and after being dropped for his home Test at Lord's, he was not even in the last two squads following his weak-link performance at Trent Bridge.
The Middlesex fast bowler ought to nonetheless still be above Irishman Boyd Rankin and other hopefuls in the pecking order as third seamer, in Bresnan's absence.
Tremlett is at the top, to partner new-ball pair James Anderson and Stuart Broad, but England will want to go carefully with a fragile asset who could yet be the key that unlocks the Ashes in Perth and beyond in Australia this winter.
There were mutterings, outside the England camp, about the possibility of resting Anderson at The Oval.
England's best bowler has struggled a little since his remarkable efforts in Nottingham, a fact acknowledged by Flower.
The coach was, however, resistant to the idea of asking Anderson to take a blow - even before it was revealed Bresnan had a stress fracture in his lower back.
"It would have been almost impossible to sustain the standards and energy levels he showed in those first two Tests," Flower said of Anderson, as he reflected last week on victory in Durham and options for The Oval.
"That's not entirely surprising, I don't think.
"(But) he will be fine ... we have got a little window now, and we don't have to rush any decisions on selection for the fifth Test."
Perhaps because of Bresnan's injury, perhaps even Pietersen's, England took a little more time than normal - delaying the squad announcement by another 24 hours until Sunday morning.
Even after the extra wait, though, it is unlikely there will be a significant late rethink.
Probable England squad: AN Cook, JE Root, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, JM Bairstow, MJ Prior (wkt), SCJ Broad, GP Swann, CT Tremlett, JM Anderson, ST Finn, JWA Taylor