England has heeded the calls of Simon Katich, Michael Vaughan and many other pundits, rejigging its batting order by promoting Jonny Bairstow to number six.
England’s likely line-up
- Alastair Cook
- Mark Stoneman
- James Vince
- Joe Root (c)
- Dawid Malan
- Jonny Bairstow (wk)
- Moeen Ali
- Chris Woakes
- Craig Overton
- Stuart Broad
- James Anderson
The tourists have named an unchanged XI for the third Ashes Test, starting on Thursday in Perth.
But trailing 2-0 in the series, England will try something different at the WACA.
Bairstow has scored 21, 36, 42 and 9 while batting at number seven in the first two Tests. He has generally looked capable but been left with too much to do with the tail.
“Having seen him in county cricket, he bats at five for Yorkshire. He has batted at five during the recent English summer,” former Australian opener Katich said.
“It’s a bit different batting at five in England compared to batting at five in Australia.
“He’s looked good [but] … these two Tests have showed that if you get caught with the tail, it’s hard against our attack to get a meaningful innings.”
Promoting Joe Root to first drop is another obvious option for the visitors to consider, but the skipper isn’t keen on the idea.
“It can be perceived as a selfish thing, batting at four, but the way I look at it is the opposite,” Root said.
“In the best interests of the team, four is where I feel I fit best for this group.”
James Vince and Dawid Malan have both posted a single half-century in the opening two Tests, but otherwise been unable to produce the sort of knock to suggest they’re anything but weak links.
Ashes-winning captain Vaughan would swap Vince and Malan in the batting order.
“Vince to five, Malan to three. [Malan] bats at three for Middlesex so that’s a position he’s used to,” Vaughan said.
“I don’t think he’s going to be over-aggressive but he’d fight to get rid of that new ball.
“It would allow Vince to bat a little more freely at five.
“He is a player that likes to play his strokes and, against the Kookaburra new ball, particularly against the quality [bowlers] the Aussies have got, you’ve got to fancy they create chances.”