England captain Ben Stokes won the toss and elected to field first in the fourth Test against Australia at Old Trafford on Wednesday which his side must win to maintain their hopes of an Ashes series victory.
His decision gave veteran England paceman Stuart Broad an early chance to take the two more wickets he needs to become just the fifth bowler to take 600 Test wickets.
Broad was also aiming to further torment Australia opener David Warner, whom he has already dismissed 17 times at this level.
No side, however, has won a Test at Old Trafford after winning the toss and choosing to bowl first.
“It would be a nice time to be the first to do that!,” said Stokes at the toss.
Both teams had already named their sides in a match England, at 2-1 down with two to play, must win to keep alive any hope of an Ashes series victory over holders Australia.
England made just one change from the team that won the third Test at Headingley by three wickets, recalling James Anderson on his Lancashire home ground after fellow seamer Ollie Robinson suffered a back spasm in Leeds.
But Anderson managed just three wickets as England fell 2-0 behind.
“The break has done him the world of good,” said Stokes of Anderson. “He’s been a unbelievable performer over many a year…I am looking forward to him running in from his own end.”
World Test champions Australia, looking to secure their first Ashes series win in England since 2001, made two changes from Headingley.
Josh Hazlewood replaced fellow seamer Scott Boland, who has taken just two wickets in two Tests at a hugely expensive average of 115.5.
Meanwhile fit-again all-rounder Cameron Green came in for spinner Todd Murphy, who bowled just 9.3 overs at Headingley following Nathan Lyon’s tour-ending calf injury in the second Test at Lord’s.
Murphy’s omission meant Australia were without a specialist spinner in their Test side for the first time in 11 years.
Warner kept his place despite the veteran Australia opener’s ongoing struggles against Broad.
The left-hander managed just five runs in total at Headingley as he fell twice to Broad.
“We’ve made the call to play without a spinner on the conditions and we feel like we’ve got plenty of bowling, two all-rounders plus Travis Head so lots of options.”
England have won 13 of their last 16 Tests at Old Trafford, losing just once.
But that defeat was in an Ashes clash four years ago, with Australia star batsman Steve Smith — one of several survivors from that match — scoring a double century and Hazlewood taking six wickets.
Not since Ian Botham’s celebrated hundred in 1981 have England enjoyed a Test win over Australia at the Manchester ground.
England: Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley, Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Harry Brook, Ben Stokes (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Australia: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitchell Marsh, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins (c), Josh Hazlewood