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Andrew Strauss looks on course to win a recall to England's first Test line-up next week after being named in the side to face a strong Select XI in their final warm-up match.

England have traditionally chosen a team as close as possible to their Test side in the final warm-up game and on Wednesday selected Strauss ahead of Middlesex team-mate Owais Shah for the three-day match at the University Oval starting on Thursday.

Shah impressed by scoring 96 in the two-day match against an Invitational side earlier this week, but the selectors have decided to choose Strauss to bat at number three and keep the opening partnership between Alastair Cook and Michael Vaughan intact from Sri Lanka before Christmas.

It is a major hint England's Test side for next week in Hamilton will line-up in an identical fashion, leaving Shah on the sidelines again after he lost out in a similar battle with Ravi Bopara in Sri Lanka.

"This isn't the Test line-up yet, so it's a bit early to assume things," claimed Strauss.

"Owais has shown a lot of form in county cricket for a long time and he's done pretty well in the one-dayers and he'll be pretty keen to get an opportunity in the Test team but that's always the case on tours, there are 15 or 16 players vying for 11 places."

Strauss' recall follows England's decision to drop him for the Sri Lanka tour before Christmas after a run of 25 Test innings without a century.

But having made the choice to come out to New Zealand and play for Northern Districts before the start of England's tour, Strauss appears to have been rewarded by being named in the effective Test line-up.

Hampshire seamer Chris Tremlett has also been selected and faces a straight bowl-out with Steve Harmison for a place in the Test XI while England assess Ryan Sidebottom's progress with the right hamstring strain he sustained in Saturday's final one-day international.

The tourists are still hopeful Sidebottom will recover in time for the Test and have both Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson waiting in reserve as his replacement should he fail to pass the stringent fitness tests.

Harmison, though, is less sure of his place following an inconsistent display in the two-day match and he now faces a head-to-head challenge from Tremlett, who is regarded as a similar bowler who can gain great bounce and pace even from placid wickets.

England's final change to their line-up is to move Ian Bell back from number three, where he batted in Sri Lanka, to number five - a position he has not batted in since making his debut against West Indies at the Oval four years ago.

One-day captain Paul Collingwood once again drops down to number six having played at five and six for the majority of his 30-Test career, while new wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose will bat at seven.

England XI to face Select XI: MP Vaughan (Yorkshire, capt), AN Cook (Essex), AJ Strauss (Middlesex), KP Pietersen (Hampshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), PD Collingwood (Durham), TR Ambrose (Warwickshire, wkt), CT Tremlett (Hampshire), MJ Hoggard (Yorkshire), SJ Harmison (Durham), MS Panesar (Northamptonshire).
 
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