England cricket: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater
Lyth, Ballance and Bell. Who should stay and who should go?
After the euphoria of the First Test victory at Cardiff, to say England came down to earth with a bump is the understatement of the year. Cook's team crashed and burned in such spectacular fashion at Lords that changes are inevitable, but who will fall on the selection sword?
In this blog a month ago, I lamented the poor form of Ballance and Bell, fearing that any early wicket could see England three down with less than 50 on the board. Unfortunately this area of concern has come to fruition. The question is should Ballance and Bell go or should the rot be stopped earlier by replacing Lyth. Many pundits and supporters are suggesting all three should go. This call for a cull leads to one obvious question, who will replace them?
Bairstow is in fine form and Taylor has just posted his highest ever score. However, neither player can bat 2 or 3. Two other batsmen mentioned in dispatches, openers Compton and Robson, are having uninspiring seasons to match their uninspiring Test records.
Therefore the best suggestion could be retaining Lyth as opener, dropping Ballance and Bell with Taylor and Bairstow coming in at 4 and 5 with Root moving up to 3. Lyth needs to exploit his good fortune by developing a better technique to rising balls outside off stump.
Amidst the carnage of England's 4th day capitulation, it is easy to forget that the bowlers with the exception of Broad didn't cover themselves in glory. Ali may survive on the basis that Rashid isn't pulling up any trees for Yorkshire, which leaves Wood as the most vulnerable of the seamers, Much will depend on how Footit bowls for Derbyshire against Australia in Thursday's game. Wickets for the left armed swing bowler will probably lead to his inclusion at Wood's expense.
What changes should England make for the third test against Australia?