Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Trevor Bayliss defends England's Ashes selections despite failure to regain the urn

Ashes 2019 Anderson still hungry for England return under captain Root Ashes 2019 Anderson still hungry for England return under captain Root By Rob Lancaster 11 September 2019 370
Shannon Reynolds | 12 September, 2019, 02:48

Vice-captain Travis Head has been axed for the fifth Ashes test as Australia hunt a series win at the Oval, where Mitch Marsh will return to the XI.

The home side go into Thursday's fifth and final match 2-1 down, meaning they can not place the urn in their trophy cabinet alongside the one-day World Cup, which they won for the first time in July.

If Stokes is unfit to bowl in London, he is expected to play as a specialist batsman, meaning either Sam Curran or Chris Woakes would come into the side and one of the struggling batsmen would make way, perhaps Jason Roy.

England's failure has led to questions over Root's position as captain, particularly given his inconsistent batting throughout the series.

However, Australia's first Ashes retention on English soil since 2001 was a triumph for Paine, who was credited for helping guide the side out of the dark days that followed the ball-tampering scandal.

Root's captaincy, and his form, has come under the spotlight but he sounded an upbeat tone as he looked forward to trying to level the series.

That was certainly a sign of changes being made ahead of the last Test, in which England would hope to level the series in light of the Ashes being retained by the visitors once again. That's the full focus of this group, so we've got to make sure that we win this game'.

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'We've not lost anything yet.

But he said he knew the direction in which he wanted to take the team and was already looking forward to trying to win the Ashes in Australia in 2021/22.

Smith is banned from leadership roles until March because of his involvement in a Cape Town ball-tampering scandal past year but he is tipped by some former players and leading cricket writers to regain the captaincy from wicketkeeper Paine after his batting heroics in England.

Selectors are yet to make a call on whether Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood will be rested from the series finale, which starts on Thursday. I think the Australian team have bowled pretty well to him. "I've not performed how I would have liked but that's part and parcel of test cricket".

Australia players attend a net session at The Oval on Tuesday.

"Last week's result was brilliant and we played very well but all the guys are fully aware that this Test match is bigger than that one".

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