THE ASHES 2019
Bayliss, while backing Roy to come good at the top of the order against the red ball, does cede he is batting out of place to his talents. © Getty
Despite coming into the third Ashes Test with an unchanged squad, Trevor Bayliss says England will contemplate changes in their bid to square the series at Leeds. Any change, though, will come in the batting. But not much with regards to personnel; the England coach believes he has the best available men for the job. “We think we’ve got the best seven batters available to us at the moment,” Bayliss said on Tuesday (August 20). But it is the order of that top seven which could be tweaked. “There’ll be still some conversations to have. Now that we’ve arrived here in Leeds, that’ll be a conversation we’ll have I’m sure.”
The Australian refuted the notion that only opener Rory Burns was batting in his rightful position, and stated, “just because they’re not scoring runs, doesn’t mean it’s not the right or wrong spot for them” after saying he was happy with one or two others. While it is unlikely the top four’s order will not switch for this Test, despite lively debate among the selection panel, the positioning of one player, in particular, is not quite to Bayliss’s liking.
Jason Roy’s three-Test career has all come as an opening batsman, despite not being a regular in that role in first-class cricket. It is off the back of his ODI performances – nine hundreds and an average of 42.79 in the format – and a number of failed openers before him that this opportunity has presented itself. However, Roy has only managed one innings of note – 72 in the second innings of his debut Test against Ireland – to go with scores of 5, 10, 28, 0 and 2. He averages 19 after six innings.
Bayliss, while backing Roy to come good at the top of the order against the red ball, does cede he is batting out of place to his talents. “Personally, I think he probably is suited to the middle order,” said Bayliss. “But we’ve selected him in the top of the order because of his form in the one-day and experience in the one-day team, playing international cricket.
“At the start of his one-day career, he missed out a few times as well and it took him a little while to get the hang of it. So the possibility of him playing again at the top of the order doesn’t really concern us. We know what he can do when he does play well. Obviously from his point of view, you’d have to ask him exactly how he’s feeling but it’s obviously not quite the same as opening the batting in a white ball game.”
Otherwise, it will be as you are for England. Steve Smith’s absence from the third Test evens the respective batting line-ups up. Though there were question marks about Chris Woakes after he was used sparingly at Lord’s, bowling just 22 overs – and only three in the second innings – despite averaging 11.3 at the ground. Any thoughts of resting him, though, will be left until after this Test.
“There’s nothing wrong with Woakesy,” confirmed Bayliss. “He’s had a long summer through the one-dayers and now Test cricket. It’s one area that we’ve tried to keep an eye on with Woakesy in the past. It’ll be a decision we have to make leading into this Test match. Do we give him a break? Do we keep going with him? He’s certainly bowled quite well while everything’s been going on at the other end.”