Watch Sri Lanka vs England 2nd Test live on Sky Sports Cricket on November 14
Last Updated: 10/11/18 7:31pm
England head coach Trevor Bayliss says Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are the two most likely candidates to bat at No 3 after Moeen Ali struggled following his promotion up the order.
With captain Joe Root maintaining his desire to bat a No 4, Ali came in at three in the second innings of the fourth Test against India in Southampton this summer but managed just nine runs.
Despite scoring a half-century in the first innings in the final Test against Virat Kohli’s side at The Oval, the all-rounder failed in the first Test against Sri Lanka, falling for a first-ball duck and just three.
And Bayliss believes both Buttler and Stokes are more than capable of taking on the mantle of coming in at the first wicket.
“Moeen has had a few opportunities, let’s be honest, up the order and at this stage hasn’t really taken them,” Bayliss said.
“In the last Test, if we’d bowled first and Mo had bowled 40 overs, Buttler was going to bat number three. But there’s Ben Stokes as well. We think in England, Stokes has got as good a technique as anyone else to bat at three.
“Those two are quite capable of batting there. It’ll be a bit of a discussion and we’ll sit down with those two as well.”
“I think Moeen’s had the most success in that middle-lower order. Long term we’re starting to get a little closer to a stable order. But there are still one or two decisions to be made.”
Root, who took over the Test captaincy from Alastair Cook in February 2017, has won 11 of his 22 red-ball matches in charge of England.
However, Bayliss believes Root is growing into his role as Test captain, with the win against Sri Lanka in Galle the first match without former skipper Cook by his side.
“There is a feel this is the beginnings of Joe Root’s team,” said Bayliss. “Cooky played a very important role and it was great to have him around.
“It is just natural that when there is someone around like that it may inhibit the new captain, but as time goes by everyone has to stop at some time and it just seems already on this tour it feels like there is a slight change.
“There are some new, younger players coming into the team and around the squad and it just has that feel about it that this can be the beginnings of a better time.”
Watch the second Test between Sri Lanka and England live on Sky Sports Cricket from 4am on Wednesday.
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