Trevor Bayliss, the England head coach, has said while his team have the "best seven batters" at their disposal for the third Ashes Test, he might consider tweaking the batting order.
Having lost at Edgbaston and drawn at Lord's, England go into the Headingley Test with a 1-0 deficit and an unchanged 12-man squad. While Rory Burns has been a revelation for the hosts at the top of the order – 226 runs at 56.50 – Jason Roy, his opening partner, hasn't found his feet in red-ball cricket yet.
Roy, who was vital in England's triumphant run at the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, hasn't been able to replicate his white-ball heroics in the Ashes. The right-hander's poor returns – 40 runs in four Test innings – have prompted Bayliss to consider slotting him into the middle order.
ICYMI— ICC (@ICC) August 19, 2019
England announced their squad for the third Ashes Test which starts on Thursday at Headingley.https://t.co/zTbnDyTP8n
"Personally I think he probably is suited to the middle order but we’ve selected him in the top of the order because of his form in the one-day team," admitted Bayliss on Tuesday, 20 August. "It hasn’t worked yet but he can easily come out and blast a quick hundred. Long term he’s more middle order. He’d feel more comfortable there but he’s doing a job for the team at the moment.
“We think we’ve got the best seven batters available to us at the moment. Whether we can change it round and make that any better I’m not sure but we’ll certainly have a discussion about it.
“It’s something we have to look at. Each individual has to be happy with that as well. [But] there might come a time when we have to put a foot down and say no, this is what’s happening. Like it or lump it.”
Steve Smith, who was hit on his neck by a bouncer from Jofra Archer, will miss the Headingley Test, courtesy a recovering concussion. The former Australia skipper, the highest run-scorer in the series so far, was replaced by Marnus Labuschagne – cricket's first like-for-like substitute – midway through the second Test. Labuschangne did not disappoint, notching up a crucial 59 to help hold England to a draw at Lord's.
“If you take out the best batter in the world it is probably [beneficial], but as his replacement showed in the last match, he’s more than capable,” remarked Bayliss. “Win or lose, this Ashes is not going to get down to one player on either side. Yes, you’ve got your good players, the ones that do well, but it’s a team effort."
The third Ashes Test begins at Headingley on Thursday, 22 August.
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