Incoming batsman: "Woakes is playing.
"Yeah, and Kerrigan."
So why the sudden change of heart?
Well, with Tim Bresnan injured, and both Steven Finn and Chris Tremlett's plane tickets to Australia surely already bought and paid for, it was pretty important to find out who the last seamer on the plane would be. Chris Woakes has been effective in the Championship and has worked his way up through the England ranks, so he has earned his chance. I can indeed see why they picked him, although I would probably have tried Tremlett so as to give him a shot at the Aussie batsmen.
Kerrigan is harder to fathom at first. Until Monty became front page news for emptying his booze-filled bladder on some bouncers (from a balcony - classy), Simon Kerrigan was nothing more than a prospect for the future, perhaps to graduate to the England side once Panesar and Swann had both left Test cricket behind them. Suddenly, with Monty's life in a mess and his career on the rocks, Kerrigan found himself second choice for his country just two years after being second choice for his county. He will not be likely to be used in Australia, though, so why was his picked? Well, the answer may be in murmurings that Graeme Swann may be playing his final home Test match. Although these rumours are unsubstantiated, the fact that he is near retirement would explain why the selectors are eager to give someone else some Test experience as soon as possible.
These two debutants are the two most talked about men in English cricket.
Simon Kerrigan, however, got devoured in Adam Richman style as he completely froze. He delivered a nasty selection of long hops and full tosses, and mostly looked like someone who had completely forgotten how to bowl. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about his bowling for Lancashire, but so far all I have seen is this display and some short balls in the Twenty20 quarter-final. I can only judge on what I see, but he looks as if he may well be a one-cap wonder in true Bryce McGain style. Today, he didn't bowl a single ball. Jonathan Trott bowled 24 and looked more incisive than either debutant.
Of course, they aren't the only ones to struggle on debut of late, or to have been discarded shortly afterwards as now seems inevitable. Michael Carberry, James Tredwell and Ajmal Shahzad, in that order, each made their Test debuts against Bangladesh in 2010, 40 Tests ago, and have not added to them in the intervening three years. Now, Shahzad's first-class bowling average has ballooned to nearly 35 and James Tredwell went for much of the Championship season before he took a wicket. The only one really pressing for a Test recall is Carberry, and his inclusion would mean that Joe Root would find himself back in the middle order.
Forty Tests on, these players have not been seen again in England whites.
The two worrying departments are spinners, and the men who take stumpings off them. Graeme Swann is obviously number one, but he may be retiring. Monty Panesar would be next, but he has issues of his own to sort out. Who then? Kerrigan, who has suffered in this game? Tredwell, who couldn't take wickets for much of the Division Two season? Maybe Danny Briggs, with just 22 wickets at 35 this season, also in Division Two, or Adil Rashid, with 21 wickets at 45 but plenty of runs? German-born Ollie Rayner has done pretty well for Middlesex. Scott Borthwick has pretty much given up bowling and still has as good a season to his name as most of those above. While Simon Kerrigan's debut may have been miserable, there isn't anyone snapping at his heels any more.
Matt Prior has also been struggling. He is suffering through his first real form-dip; his highest score this Ashes has been 31. Today, his 'keeping looked all at sea and more resembled Kamran Akmal than Prior's usual, immaculate self. One of my favourite sayings is that form is temporary, and class is permanent, and while Prior is definitely classy, he will get questioned if England start losing Tests, and who is there behind him? My favourite is Steven Davies, who hasn't even played for the Lions in rather a long time.
What the ECB needs to do is organise a Lions tour all over the sub-continent. Play the Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan 'A' teams, and even Bangladesh if they feel like it. They need to take all of their spinners (Tredwell, Briggs, Kerrigan, Panesar) out there and play three of them per game. The best one becomes the next in line after Graeme Swann. And it needs to happen while we're playing the Ashes Down Under, because there isn't much time if Swann really does choose to retire from the side.