Predicting England’s XI at the Gabba

Nachiket Shirolkar Roar Rookie

By Nachiket Shirolkar, Nachiket Shirolkar is a Roar Rookie

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72 Have your say

    Ben Stokes is the best all-rounder in the world.

    Immensely talented across all formats of the game, he possesses a rare capacity to change a Test match in a session or two. He has been a lynchpin of English cricket for the last few years. However, his questionable selection status is threatening England’s plans of retaining the coveted Ashes trophy.

    While inexperience in their top order was debated as their weakness, a well-oiled middle and lower order gave England a strong chance of defeating Australia. The Stokes- Bairstow-Ali trio was touted to be crucial for England’s chances in this tournament.

    They were brilliant as England retained the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy against South Africa earlier this year, and the same was hoped from them down under, but Stokes’s Bristol brawl and his subsequent suspension threatens to derail England’s campaign.

    Yes, Steven Finn offers a good cover and England still have enough firepower to better Australia, but they are without a world-class player, perhaps their best in terms of pure talent. While Kevin Pietersen, Ian Chappell and others have written England off, players like Moeen Ali remain upbeat.

    So, what will England’s likeliest XI be for the first Test in Brisbane?

    1. Alastair Cook
    Age: 32, Matches: 147, Runs: 11629, Average: 46.33, 100s: 31, 50s: 55
    There is no better cricketer to lead an inexperienced batting line-up than Alastair Cook. The only real threat to Sachin Tendulkar’s incredible Test tally, Cook boasts wonderful statistics. He also seems to have got his touch back after relinquishing the captaincy.

    Cook’s performances will be crucial in England’s bid to retain the Ashes. While his catching is worrisome, the opener is an irreplaceable member of the English team. This tour might be pivotal in cementing him as one of the greatest batsmen in cricket history.

    2. Mark Stoneman
    Age: 30, Matches: 3, Runs: 120, Average: 30.00, 100s: 0, 50s:1
    Andrew Strauss’s 2012 retirement has seemingly left an unfillable void and English selectors haven’t been able to find a proper replacement for the former skipper. Stoneman is Cook’s 12th partner since Strauss hung his boots up.

    Coach Trevor Bayliss and Cook are said to be impressed with Stoneman’s work ethic and selectors have given him the nod ahead of Keaton Jennings. He might be ‘young’ in international cricket, but brings an experience of over 9000 runs in the county circuit. Stoneman needs to be a competent partner for Cook if England want to rack up big totals.

    3. Gary Ballance
    Age: 27, Matches: 23, Runs: 1498, Average: 37.45, 100s: 4, 50s: 7
    This might be the last chance for Gary Ballance, whose Test career can be divided into two parts. Debuting at Sydney during 2014 Ashes debacle, Ballance enjoyed a run feast in next few matches as he reached 1000 runs in just ten matches at an average of nearly 68! He was also named Wisden’s Cricket of the year in 2015.

    However, a lean patch followed where his shuffling back-foot technique was exposed. He was even deemed ‘unselectable’ for the English Test team. However, skipper Joe Root likes him and Ballance is coming off a strong country season where he scored nearly 1100 runs.

    As eyebrows have been raised about his selection in the squad, Ballance must perform well to justify selectors’ faith and cement his position in the team.

    Gary Ballance

    (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

    4. Joe Root
    Age: 26, Matches: 60, Runs: 5323, Average: 53.76, 100s: 13, 50s: 32
    Joe Root is one of the best batsmen in cricket today. Fluent across all formats of the game, the English captain boasts impeccable numbers. He was never a heavy scorer in the domestic circuit but his systematic approach, ability to preserve his wicket and maturity about his game made him rise above his fellow English batsmen.

    He started his career as an opener with limited success and his faulty back-foot technique was exposed by the Australians during the 2013-14 Ashes. However, he worked on his game and eventually scored a whopping 2228 runs across all formats in 2015 – the highest by any batsman.

    The only debatable limitation of his batting is his inability to convert 50s into 100s (what sets him apart from Virat Kohli, Steven Smith and Kane Williamson). If he can covert his 70s and 80s into big scores, England might conjure up big totals in the upcoming series.

    Joe Root has come a long way since his debut and is the most important player in England’s bid to retain the Ashes.

    5. Dawid Malan
    Age: 30, Matches: 5, Runs: 189, Average: 23.62, 100s: 0, 50s: 2
    This can be a spot of concern for England as Dawid Malan must perform well to justify his selection. Malan is much better than his international statistics suggest and should back his talent up with good performances during this series.

    Malan is a flamboyant stroke-maker, but receives a constant criticism of soft dismissals and throwing his wicket away cheaply (evident during recently concluded West Indies series). However, his sound back-foot technique can be an asset on Australia’s bouncy pitches.

    He needs to build on his starts and, in the absence of Stokes, will have an added responsibility to provide a sizeable contribution in the middle order. Like Ballance, this can be an important series for Dawid Malan’s Test career as he looks to cement his spot in the longest format of the game.

    6. Jonny Bairstow
    Age: 28, Matches: 45, Runs: 2824, Average: 39.77, 100s: 3, 50s: 17
    Possibly the most improved cricketer over last 18 months, Jonny Bairstow has dug England out of a hole more times than he would have liked in recent years. With Stokes and Moeen Ali, he is a part of Test cricket’s best middle order today. A feisty cricketer, Bairstow possesses an elegant respect for the game.

    While his glovework has been criticised, Bairstow’s wicketkeeping has improved a lot in last year-and-a-half. He may have to improve his brilliant performances as he looks to fill the void left by the absence of Stokes. England might be tempted to play him as a specialist batsman so he can focus more on his batting, which explains the next entry in the list.

    England's Jonny Bairstow reacts as he is given out lbw as he attempts a sweep shot on 99 runs during day two of the Fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday Aug. 5, 2017.

    (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

    7. Ben Foakes
    Age: 24, Yet to debut in international cricket
    Picking an uncapped player for the first Test in front of a packed Gabba might not be the wisest option but Ben Foakes might be an exception. With Stokes not available, there might be a three-way competition among James Vince, Craig Overton and Foakes.

    While Vince brings a strong technique to England’s batting, his brilliant wicketkeeping skills and an inclination to play Bairstow as a specialist batsman for bigger returns might mean that Foakes debuts in Brisbane. He is good with the bat as well, as he averaged a fraction under 48 in the last county season for Surrey.

    However, it’s his glovework, touted by the legendary Alec Stewart as the best in the world, which is what might give him a chance to play in the first Test.

    8. Moeen Ali
    Age: 30, Matches: 44, Runs: 2228, Batting average: 34.66, 100s: 5, 50s: 12, Wickets: 128, Bowling average: 37.32
    Moeen Ali is phenomenal. A part of the best middle order in world cricket today, he would walk into the playing XI of nearly every team. While some call him England’s most elegant batsman since David Gower, his bowling has earned him accolades too.

    He has been England’s number one spinner since Graeme Swann’s sudden retirement. He possesses a good doosra, a counter-attacking approach and an experience of over 10000 runs in county cricket.

    However, his temperament and calmness sets him apart from others. He may not be as technically sound as those batting above him but it has been a blessing in disguise as he has embraced his role in the lower middle order. He is coming off a good series against West Indies and a wonderful series against South Africa where he became the first English cricketer since Sir Ian Botham to take 25 wickets and hit 250 runs in a series.

    While Ali has been the ‘go-to’ cricketer for England, an added responsibility will be put on his shoulders in the absence of Stokes of being the main all-rounder in the squad. This series can be an opportunity for this fine cricketer to be regarded as one of the best all-rounders of recent times.

    9. Chris Woakes
    Age: 28, Matches: 18, Wickets: 50, Bowling average: 30.60, 5 WI: 2, 10 WM: 1
    While he has emerged as one of the more promising bowling all-rounders in the game, Chris Woakes’s inconsistency has prevented him from cementing his position in England’s national team.

    While he possesses stunning statistics in county cricket (5073 runs at 36.30 and 433 wickets in 127 first-class matches), his international numbers aren’t as good. Yet, in the absence of Toby Roland-Jones and Ben Stokes, Woakes has an opportunity to be a mainstay as the third paceman or an all-rounder in England’s test team.

    Along with handy contributions with the bat, selectors and fans will be hoping he matches or betters Chris Tremlett’s 17 wickets in the 2010-11 Ashes which were crucial when England won their first series in Australia for 24 years.

    10. Stuart Broad
    Age: 31, Matches: 109, Wickets: 388, Bowling Average: 28.81, 5 WI: 15, 10 WM: 2
    One of the fiercest cricketers in England’s history, Stuart Broad has come a long way since that over to Yuvraj Singh. Broad’s ‘hit-the-deck’, aggressive approach has nicely complemented James Anderson’s technical prowess for around a decade.

    The second-highest wicket-taker in England’s history, Broad will be crucial for England’s fortunes. Who can forget his 8/15 at Trent Bridge in a single session when Australia were bowled out for 60 in less than 20 overs? He has not enjoyed the best of times since then, as his last five-wicket haul was in January 2016, but his ability to extract bounce from nearly any kind of surface around the world might be key during this Ashes campaign.

    Another relatively underestimated feature of Broad’s game is his batting. While the short ball has been his well-documented weakness, he has mustered 2820 runs with a highest score of 169 in his Test career.

    (AP Photo/Jon Super)

    11. James Anderson
    Age: 35, Matches: 129, Wickets: 506, Bowling Average: 27.39, 5 WI: 24, 10 WM: 3
    James Anderson has proven himself as the best bowler in England’s history. Being instrumental in three Ashes victories to date, a great deal of England’s Ashes hopes will lie on his shoulders. He is just the third paceman after Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh to cross the 500-wicket mark and is not slowing down.

    While his line and length and bowling technique have been his strengths, there is a contrast in his home and overseas statistics. While he has often been unbelievable in England’s swing-friendly conditions, only 171 of his 506 wickets have come in overseas matches at an average of 33.46.

    However, he has been a handy batsman as well, who has been used as a competent night-watchman time and again. This series is an opportunity for Anderson to defy his doubters and go down as one of the very best bowlers the game has seen.

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    The Crowd Says (72)

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:54am
      Targa said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      You’ve made some interesting points but I have to disagree with a few things. Ben Stokes is not the best allrounder in the world – Shakib Al Hasan is better. Alistair Cook is a good player, but is far from being one of the world’s best ever batsmen – he wouldn’t be in the top 50 batsmen of all time. I think England will want a decent 5th bowling option so I don’t think Foakes will play.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:14am
      Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      “Ben Stokes is the best all-rounder in the world.”

      “Moeen Ali is phenomenal. A part of the best middle order in world cricket today…”

      Do India just not exist for you; a counterexample to both of your patently ridiculous claims? I like analysis, not hype, and this article is just welling with hype.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 23rd 2017 @ 11:39am
        Nachiket Shirolkar said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        I understand what you mean, and I am originally from India, hence supporting the Indian team from around 1997. But if I am asked, the combination of Stokes-Bairstow- Ali has been playing as a better oiled machine than Saha- Ashwin-Jadeja for number 6-7-8 .. The English trio has won more matches with both- the bat and ball and Indian trio is yet to perform outside the subcontinent..!

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:59pm
          Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

          Bear in mind, they’ve had to as they sit behind one of the weakest top orders running around; Cook and Root are good players, but the rest are new ball fodder or pedestrian.

          Saha-Jadeja-Ashwin don’t have to be the match-winners with the bat when they do just so much damage with the ball, far more than Stokes-Bairstow-Ali, especially when Saha isn’t nearly as prone to dropping catches as Bairstow is.

          You can win a test match with quality bowlers after failing with the bat. You simply cannot say the same of the batting, and there lies my issue with your commentary. For Stokes to be the “best all-rounder in the world”, you genuinely have to ignore Jadeja, to say nothing of Bangladesh’s coterie of world class all-rounders; the combination of Bairstow and one of Stokes or Ali may be dangerous, but with only one of Ali or Stokes firing at any given time, given their far lower averages than Bairstow – and coupled with the fact that Bairstow would have to average 70 in order to make up for his dropping regulation chances – I’d be taking the competent keeper and the game changers in Ashwin and Jadeja thanks.

          As for not having done it away from home, what of Stokes/Ali makes you think they’ve done it away from home, to say nothing of Bairstow?

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:18pm
            Joe Bell said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

            Would like to see Jadeja replicate his recent form anywhere off the sub-continent before he gets dubbed better than Stokes.

          • October 24th 2017 @ 7:50am
            George said | October 24th 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

            Bairstow’s keeping has been fine. And did you see he and Stokes in South Africa?

          • October 24th 2017 @ 9:59am
            Liam said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            I do enjoy how both of you – George and Joe Bell – have neglected to attack my central contention; that a series of bowling all-rounders with explosive batting are more valuable than England’s pair of Stokes and Ali, both of whom are bits and parts players. Stokes is more a true all rounder than Ali, whose ability to be gifted wickets by batsmen astounds me; he really shouldn’t get as many as he does, given what he bowls. Credit to the two of them for their last twelve months, but that’s when the pickings are good; will they continue to be, in Stoke’s absence, with Ali in the spinner’s graveyard that is Australia?

            And what of Bairstow? Explosive bat when he’s on, but his troubles with the gloves are well noted and hardly bear repeating here. You sound as defensive as we do when we say, “Wade did really well in India and Bangladesh”, whilst simultaneously lamenting the lack of quality behind the stumps. Chances are hard to get in a test match, and grassing something you should be taking means that you are contributing to the opposition’s score before you add value with your own runs.

            Back to your argument, though; they don’t do it away. India can only play where they’ve been fixtured, and over the last year and a half the fixture has been a joke. That Jadeja’s emergence has been almost entirely over there is probably no coincidence, so I’ll withhold judgement until he’s toured a bit, but you still have to respect the numbers he’s putting forth, with both the bat and the ball,.

            • October 24th 2017 @ 10:07am
              George said | October 24th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

              Apologies for choosing which of your contentions I don’t agree with. Bairstow’s keeping was widely praised both during the tour of India and during the English summer – seems like he’s improved, according to judges close to the action.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 10:21am
                George said | October 24th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

                It’s not about being defensive but Bairstow clearly needs to be in England’s XI one way or another. Sure he’s no Jack Russell, but, unlike Wade he brings a lot to the party with his batting or fielding – the Tasmanian offers precious little beyond sledging. Personally, I’d rather Foakes and Nevill were the permanent keepers (as with Foster and Read, and Hartley, in previous years).

                In terms of comparing the various allrounders, it’s true that India barely plays away from home, but when it has, Jadeja and Ashwin haven’t pulled up any trees… and yet you question Stokes’ record away from home when he has down quite well at times.

                (see also, England tour of SA in 2015: Bairstow scored runs 361 at 72.20, Stokes 477 at 59.62 and 15 wickets at 26.20).

                re ‘Ali, whose ability to be gifted wickets by batsmen astounds me; he really shouldn’t get as many as he does, given what he bowls’. You could say this about many bowlers (including Lyon) but facts are facts – they have both had success getting Test batsmen out and it can’t all be put down to luck.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 1:14pm
                Liam said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

                “You could say this about many bowlers (including Lyon) but facts are facts”

                Don’t mistake me, Ali has had a great patch of form with the ball, and Stokes has as well. Those stats clearly display this. What I object to is that you wish for me to acknowledge you ‘facts are facts’ concerning Ali’s bowling yet you are unwilling to do the same for Jadeja.

                And it’s been some time since either Ashwin or Jadeja left India on a tour, and over the course of that time they’ve both become better players. It’s akin to judging Steve Smith for his first 20 innings in test cricket.

                As for Bairstow, I’ll wait and see how he goes this summer.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 2:15pm
                George said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                Of course we’ll have to wait and see whether Jadeja can do well abroad in the future. You claimed Stokes had not though.

                ‘As for Bairstow, I’ll wait and see how he goes this summer.’

                Fair enough, but ain’t going to change the fact that he played extremely well in South Africa – that is ‘what makes me think he has done it away from home’ to refer to your initial point (I suspect you had forgotten or didn’t notice that performance…)

                As things stand, Stokes averages 40,57 (batting) and 31.95 away from home (18 matches). Don’t know why you suggested he hadn’t done anything either.

            • October 24th 2017 @ 2:51pm
              Liam said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

              I wasn’t aware of Bairstow’s South African performances, but I’ll take your word for it.

              “As things stand, Stokes averages 40,57 (batting) and 31.95 away from home (18 matches). Don’t know why you suggested he hadn’t done anything either.”

              I don’t know where you got the implication in my posts that Stokes hasn’t fired a shot. If you actually read what I wrote, I said that one of Ali OR Stokes will fire at once, which is proven by that away average that you cite. If both fired more often – as would be proven by a higher test match average than they two possess – then England’d be in far better waters, as it would allow them the time to find a top order, but as it stands it doesn’t happen often enough to be considered.

        • Roar Rookie

          October 24th 2017 @ 3:26am
          savage said | October 24th 2017 @ 3:26am | ! Report

          Nachiket Shirolkar
          absolutely agree.i’ve already said multiple times that there is no cricketer more overhyped than duo of ashwin and R jadeja.Ben stokes is best allrounder in the world with shakib close second.ben stokes has arguably been england’s best player in each tours of India,Australia,Bangladesh and South Africa.Whereas jadeja and Ashwin were never able to solidify their position outside SC.R ashwin is yet to take more than 3 wicket in innings outside SC(against Aus,Nz,sa and Eng away).jadeja and R ashwin are great when they are in their comfort zone but outside their comfort zone,they are ordinary.In terms of versatility,Stokes is without doubt Best allrounder in the world.

      • October 24th 2017 @ 8:15am
        Bakkies said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

        Moeen Ali has a habit of throwing his innings away which will please the likes of Nathan Lyon.

        • October 24th 2017 @ 2:27pm
          George said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

          Indeed. But he also averages 41 from his past 16 Tests.

          His weakness in the past has more been against quick bowling.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:04am
      Brendon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      Joe Root is a world class player. But if Cook doesn’t produce runs then the English batting will struggle. I don’t mean 2010-11 amount of runs where Cook was unstoppable but at least his career average. Everyone knows the top 5 is England’s weakness with the 6,7,8 positions usually cleaning up. Bairstow, Stokes, Ali were such great batsmen for their positions and with Stokes gone it is still good instead of brilliant. Foakes and Vince look like number 6 batsmen but Overton looks like a bowler who can bat a bit. Pushing Ali up to 7 and Overton at 8 is an option. Losing Stokes puts so much more pressure on Ali’s bowling if England go with a specialist batsmen at 6 and pressure on his batting if they go with someone like Overton at 8.

      I don’t know much about Foakes, Overton or Vince. Losing Stokes is such a blow for England. Just not because of his ability but because he played some of the tests from England’s last tour and has experience in Australia. Something none of the guys you listed have at 1st class level.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:21am
        jameswm said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        I agree. I think if we can stop Cook getting big scores and get him out cheaply occasionally, they will be under immense pressure.

        That team selected in this article – Broad should do ok, but Anderson usually struggles out here, Woakes averages 2.7 wickets per test, and Ali is not only an average finger spinners, but it is a craft that struggles in Australia. You therefore need Broad to take 11-12 wickets a test.

        If I were the Aussies, I’d:

        – see off the new ball, so Anderson becomes neutered
        – play Broad carefully
        – play positively against Ali and Woakes, and milk them for 4 per over. This puts England under pressure to bowl either 35yo Anderson who won’t like the conditions, or Broad.

        Bowling wise, how will Ballance go against the Starc swinging yorker, and Hazlewood’s length? Hazey will work out to pitch it half a metre fuller against him. The odd one will nip a little one way or the other.

        And that’s leaving out Patty Cummins.

        I think if we get an early wicket most of the time, there will be massive pressure on Root most of the time. And if we Cook a few times early, England will need Root to score quite a few tons.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:43pm
          James said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

          Sounds good in theory but i wouldnt be too confident in any of the Australian batsmen to have the temperament to see off a new ball or to play Broad carefully. They will most likely ‘play their natural game’ which has a decent chance of working even if i hate the term more than anything in cricket.

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:18pm
            Ouch said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            You’ve never seen Matt Renshaw play then?

      • October 24th 2017 @ 8:18am
        Bakkies said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        Vince has ability but he is another who hasn’t done much in his international appearances to date.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:22am
      Paul said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      The team you think England might choose makes sense, but would they go into the Gabba Test with a brand new keeper? All reports say Foakes is a gun, but he is obviously unproven at Test level. He might get a Test later in the series, but not first up.

      Your hype about Ali is interesting. Six months ago, Trevor Bayliss was calling him a batsman who bowls a bit, yet one series against South Africa and he is now “the best all rounder in the world”. He was here 2 years ago and averaged 45 with the ball and after the Sth Africa series, averaged just under 50 against the West Indies. He needs to have improved mightily, otherwise England has an unbalanced attack.

      Sad to see the need to use superlatives to boost guys like Anderson, etc. Their records in Australia aren’t that great so either leave out the comments or call it as it is.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:49pm
        James said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        Depends on the player, some players love the challenge and being thrown in the deep end and if Foakes is one of those guys why not start him straight up. Plus its is the Gabba, its not really a mind field for wicket keepers. I dont see how waiting a test or two helps him, after all if England wait to bring him in isnt that them basically telling him they dont think he is good enough to play in the first test?

        What superlatives do you disagree with re. Anderson? He is the best english bowler by numbers and he has been quite frequently been unbelievable in English conditions. He mentions the difference in his numbers home and away and though the last sentence is bollocks its more comparative than a superlative statement.

    • Roar Guru

      October 23rd 2017 @ 9:30am
      JamesH said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      I can’t see England only playing three quicks plus Ali. If England have any sense they will push Root and Bairstow – their two in form batsmen – up the order:

      Foakes (wk)

      However, they don’t (and Root apparently doesn’t want to bat at 3) so they will continue to play a number 3 who isn’t up to it, regularly leaving themselves 2-3 for nothing, not to mention omitting their best wicketkeeper:

      Bairstow (wk)

      Unlike most of his teammates, I think Ali will enjoy batting on Australian pitches.

      • Roar Guru

        October 23rd 2017 @ 11:30am
        Chris Kettlewell said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        I suspect that second lineup you’ve given is the most likely one they’ll pick for the first test. Pick 4 fast-bowlers plus Ali. They’ll want the fifth bowler, especially with Ali being one of the four. Not sure who that fourth quick will be. It looks like Woakes is probably in, but then who they pick for the fourth spot is a bit of a question mark and may come down to some of their tour matches. They’ve struggled to get a consistently effective third quick, let alone now having to look for a fourth.

        There’s always a chance that for the more spinning tracks of Adelaide and Sydney they’d consider the second spinner. Although, I believe that other than Ali they’ve only brought one other spinner and that’s the uncapped young leggie who played one match for NSW last season.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:55pm
          Brian said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

          By alll reports Overton would be much more suited to doing something in Australia then Ball.
          I agree your second line-up with Overton instead of Ball is most likely.

          As for the batting positions at No 3 and No 5. Vince, Ballance, Foakes & Malan will all be asked to bat and whichever 2 of the 4 show the best lead in form will play.

          For England to have any chance I think they have to play Overton. As others have said it can’t be just Broad with the ability to take wickets.

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 5:01pm
            JamesH said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            I’ll take your word for it – I don’t know much about him!

        • October 24th 2017 @ 8:22am
          Bakkies said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

          ‘They’ve struggled to get a consistently effective third quick’

          Struggled to get a fit third quick. Since the 2013-14 series England have got in to the trap of trying to find a bowler that bowls 140km/h plus. As soon as the new boys do that they pull up injury. When they drop their pace to stay fit they aren’t really effective.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:56am
      Curious George said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      Ben Stokes will play

      He will miss the 1st test and then the poms will weasel him into the rest of the series, ensuring they will win


      Australian batting lineup is weaker than a wet wafer.
      Picking Maxwell and Wade will make it weaker still.
      Please pick a batsman @ number 6. Not a dolt.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:18pm
        Ben Brown said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:18pm | ! Report


        Looks pretty strong to me compared to the English one lol, All your runs come from 4,7,8.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 6:35pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | October 23rd 2017 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

        Weaselling into things is what seperates us from the animals. Except for the weasel…..

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