Ahead of the crucial Test in Headingley, England have made a key change to their batting setup, axing the opener Dominic Sibley. Instead, the Three Lions opted to pick Dawid Malan in the mix, with the left-hander’s last game in the whites, coming against India in Birmingham, 2018. However, Malan’s form in the County Championship, where has been a consistent threat in the last two years has earned him his comeback.
England skipper Joe Root lavished praises on the 33-year-old, stating that he offers a lot of experience in the top three for the national team. Root also insisted that the southpaw would be hungry to mark his comeback with a match-winning contribution.
“I think (Dawid) Malan offers us a lot of experience in the top three, not necessarily in Tests but he has played a lot of red ball in the country with success as well,” Root said in the online press conference, ahead of the third Test.
“So, we know that he is capable of big things in Test cricket, he is coming on the back of a good score in the County Championship and great scores in white-ball cricket. They are two different players (Haseeb and Burns), it is great opportunity for them to go and score the big runs.”
“One thing I will say about Dawid, he is a fine player, he has had immense pressure and has come through most of them with success. He will be desperate to take the opportunity and make the spot his own.”
The hosts had to deal with a piece of bad news, as pacer Mark Wood was earlier ruled out of the Headingley encounter. Root insisted that Wood offered a real point of difference in the pace department but reckoned that there is a real opportunity for Saqib Mahmood to make his impact on debut.
“Frustrating for Mark, he bowled really well in the second innings. He gives us a real point of difference in the pace department. It is a real frustration for him and us as a side, it will provide an opportunity for others to step up. I feel like Saqib couldn’t be in a bad place to play Test cricket, the way he has progressed in the last two years has been exceptional,” he added.
With England suffering at the hands of the Indian bowlers, Root put it down to partnerships, which would make a difference in the third Test, starting Wednesday (August 25).
“It is been a very challenging summer for us, we have come across numerous challenging surfaces. We have to keep improving as a team, we need to get enough good partnerships, that has to be our focus for the third Test and future.”
“There is a lot to play for, we are desperate to make a good return in the series. Everyone seems to be in fine shape, hopefully we can get through tomorrow well and make selection purely on the conditions.”
While Jos Buttler hinted that there was a possibility of him skipping The Ashes Down Under, Root stated that a decision would only be taken later in the year, and not now.
“I can’t clarify anything on Jos Buttler’s situation, it will happen further down the line and not now. We have to make sure we level up things in the series.”