Bayliss hints at England reshuffle for third Ashes Test at Headingley
Jason Roy’s position as opener may come under most scrutiny.
Head coach Trevor Bayliss says England will consider reshuffling their top seven as they look to level the Ashes in the third Test at Headingley.
The hosts retained an unchanged 12-man squad following a compelling draw at Lord’s but there are still questions over how best to use the batsmen at their disposal.
While Rory Burns is an undisputed opener – and also England’s leading run-scorer in the series with 266 – there are arguably question marks over the best roles for the next six players in the line-up.
“Now that we’ve arrived here in Leeds, that’ll be a conversation we’ll have I’m sure,” Bayliss admitted.
“We think we’ve got the best seven batters available to us at the moment in England… whether we can change it round and make that (order) any better, I’m not sure, but we’ll certainly have a discussion about it.
“I’m quite certain there’s one or two others in the right spot too and just because they’re not scoring runs doesn’t mean it’s not the right or wrong spot for them.”
Jason Roy is one of those who may come under the microscope, with his early outings as Burns’ partner failing to impress.
Although a world-class opener in the white-ball formats, he has scored just 45 runs in five knocks at the head of the innings, compared to an enterprising 72 in a solitary innings at number three.
Asked if Roy might be a more natural middle-order player against the red ball, Bayliss admitted: “Possibly. 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-dayers 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.”
England’s prospects of making it 1-1 in Leeds improved with the news that Australia’s best player, Steve Smith, would miss the match as he continues his recovery from concussion.
Bayliss knows Smith well from their time together at New South Wales and, although he recognises the advantage of taking on the tourists without their talisman, is not expecting a simple ride.
Marnus Labuschagne helped his side save the Test with 59 after coming in as a concussion substitute and will be back on duty from the start this time.
“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,” said 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.”