Australia A v England XI, Tour match, Hobart November 5, 2013

Cook open to batting reshuffle

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England will ponder a shuffle of their Test match batting order before the return Ashes encounter begins in Brisbane, after their captain Alastair Cook admitted his team could not afford a repeat of the early stumbles that pockmarked a 3-0 series victory at home earlier this year.

Australia's pacemen were consistently able to perforate the England top order, pushing the Man of the Series Ian Bell to great heights as he continually bailed out the earlier batsmen in a manner reminiscent of a prime Michael Clarke.

Following on from this amid his flurry of invective at Ricky Ponting and Cook, Shane Warne had reckoned earlier this week that keeping the young batsman Joe Root at the top of the order may "crucify" a promising young player, suggesting instead that the taller, older left-hander Michael Carberry might be a better partner for England's captain in Australia.

Before training at Bellerive Oval, Cook not only batted away Warne's criticisms of his captaincy but also left open the possibility that such changes might just be made. In a typically careful discussion of his team, Cook lauded Root's adaptability while also saying the doubt surrounding two batting places had created a healthy sense of tension and competition in an otherwise settled squad. He then closed by stating gravely that the early innings misadventures of July and August could not be repeated.

"Joe is a fantastic player. I think anyone who saw his 180 at Lord's and his hundred against New Zealand can see the class he has got," Cook said. "He has been outstanding in all forms of the game and being able to bat in any situation is one of his greatest strengths. Whether he's batting at six against New Zealand or heads up the rate in the one-day game, I don't think I have seen a younger player adapt to a situation as well as he does as quickly as he does. He's a pretty unflappable guy.

"We haven't decided on our batting line-up. It's very different to 2010-11 where we came here very clear what our full strength side was and on that tour we played the first two warm-up games as that Test match XI. In this situation circumstances are different. We are unsure of pretty much two places and it's exciting because everyone in the squad knows that and watching that competition grow, if someone grabs that opportunity he is going to find himself in a good place."

Should Carberry slip into the top six, and so leave Root free to move down the order, it would represent a change to England's apparent plans on their departure for Australia. The assembly of a squad with a trio of potential middle-order players in Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes illustrated where the team director Andy Flower's major doubts had existed. Nonetheless, Root's adaptability and temperament are highly valued, while at 33 Carberry has been chosen less as a future investment than a readymade top-order option after the fashion of Chris Rogers for Australia.

Either way, Cook is adamant that England's batsmen cannot be anywhere near as courteous to Australia's new-ball bowlers this time around. The window for wickets provided by the new ball is narrower down under, as the Kookaburra loses its shine and ability to bend rather quicker than the Dukes in England, making early incisions even more critical than they had been in the northern summer.

"Especially with the Kookaburra ball it's a situation we can't allow to happen again," Cook said. "Sometimes in England with overhead conditions that does happen. In Australia the bigger scores do happen and we know that is an area of major improvement we needed to do coming into the series."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaggy076 on November 7, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    FFL - Sorry your going to have to explain to me who is Manchester United? Just didn't understand your analogy. However, you did lose me at Root has the best technique in world cricket. Pretty sure the Aussirs aren't to worriedabout him.

  • 1st_april on November 7, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    @popcorn Cook and Carberry were running tired at 318/0......

  • popcorn on November 7, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    So Make no mistake - England are running scared! Time for us to expose the Poms and open up their psychological wounds and fears.No courtesy please.Mitchell Johnson, knock their blocks off! And a finger or two Like you did Graeme Smith and Jacque Kallis.

  • SevereCritic on November 6, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Lets face it - someone had to take the fall for the bizarre English batting against NZ at home. Trott was criticized for his slow rate, Cook butchered for his defensive captaincy. However, both are above getting axed. So, Compton with his 7(45) took the fall. He was most dispensable of the lot. Carberry's ship has sailed. Kinda unfortunate, but sadly true.

  • SevereCritic on November 6, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Since Bell rarely ever performs outside England, it will be upto Cook and KP to score bulk of the runs for England. Trott, Root can play support roles. But Cook and Kp are the key.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 6, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    Root has probably the best technique of any batsman in world cricket so to have him at 6 would make England's batting order look ridiculously good. Carberry's an awesome opening bat, is in supreme form and has certainly earned a go. To compare the two batting orders on paper right now is like comparing Manchester United and The Queen's Head Sunday XI. Let's not forget also that Root has got all the tricks in the book. In the most recent Ashes, he was playing the Switch Hit to the Australian opening bowlers, which you've got to admit you don't see usually if at all from an opener. So much for the Australian bowling stocks, too: Copeland and Cutting were hailed as the next generation up to this match, today that reputation has been utterly smashed.

  • JG2704 on November 6, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (November 5, 2013, 20:16 GMT) I did say it was a road and didn't say it was against top opposition , but then again it is also his most recent form. 2 months can be a long time in cricket , we see players go out of form in that time and come back into form and vice versa. Look at how Bell did in the home series vs NZ and compare to how he did vs Aus. Obviously a knock on a road vs a substandard attack doesn't equate that he'll be in similar form in the tests but neither does form from a few months ago mean that he'll be in similar test form this time around

  • JG2704 on November 6, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @CS - MC is proving me wrong as it stands. I'm guessing the difference both in pressure and quality of bowling in the tests will be a whole lot different but he now looks nailed on to open so well done on your insight. I just presumed that Compton was the scapegoat for Eng's long term masterplan as it seems they couldn't wait to out him. Maybe they just couldn't wait to out him anyway

    @Milhouse79 on (November 6, 2013, 1:37 GMT) Not heard that one re Gooch but it could be the case . For me Eng change their policies depending on who it is

  • jmcilhinney on November 6, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Toff on (November 6, 2013, 6:02 GMT), I don't think that Cook actually had a genuine back injury but rather just some stiffness that has righted itself since. I'm guessing that his back probably felt better as the day went on. Given that Cook didn't play the first game and Carberry is batting for a place in the first Test, I think that it's reasonable that they didn't retire. Had this been a 3-day game then I would think differently but there's still plenty of time for the rest of the batsman to have a good hit with 3 days still to play. Broad must be wondering whether he'll get a bowl at all!

  • HatsforBats on November 6, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    What a boring days play, I want my 6 hours back. I feel sorry for the A guys, & I must say if this is a deliberate plan to starve England of any real challenge I completely disagree with it. Selecting a team with just 2 medium pacers and a couple of all-rounders is pathetic. This clearly indicates none of the AA XI are in contention for test selection. One positive is that England might select Carberry for Brisbane. Leading edges, edges through gully, a dozen plays & misses...yes please. England won't get much out of this match except some miles in the legs.

  • Shaggy076 on November 7, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    FFL - Sorry your going to have to explain to me who is Manchester United? Just didn't understand your analogy. However, you did lose me at Root has the best technique in world cricket. Pretty sure the Aussirs aren't to worriedabout him.

  • 1st_april on November 7, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    @popcorn Cook and Carberry were running tired at 318/0......

  • popcorn on November 7, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    So Make no mistake - England are running scared! Time for us to expose the Poms and open up their psychological wounds and fears.No courtesy please.Mitchell Johnson, knock their blocks off! And a finger or two Like you did Graeme Smith and Jacque Kallis.

  • SevereCritic on November 6, 2013, 23:00 GMT

    Lets face it - someone had to take the fall for the bizarre English batting against NZ at home. Trott was criticized for his slow rate, Cook butchered for his defensive captaincy. However, both are above getting axed. So, Compton with his 7(45) took the fall. He was most dispensable of the lot. Carberry's ship has sailed. Kinda unfortunate, but sadly true.

  • SevereCritic on November 6, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Since Bell rarely ever performs outside England, it will be upto Cook and KP to score bulk of the runs for England. Trott, Root can play support roles. But Cook and Kp are the key.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on November 6, 2013, 16:36 GMT

    Root has probably the best technique of any batsman in world cricket so to have him at 6 would make England's batting order look ridiculously good. Carberry's an awesome opening bat, is in supreme form and has certainly earned a go. To compare the two batting orders on paper right now is like comparing Manchester United and The Queen's Head Sunday XI. Let's not forget also that Root has got all the tricks in the book. In the most recent Ashes, he was playing the Switch Hit to the Australian opening bowlers, which you've got to admit you don't see usually if at all from an opener. So much for the Australian bowling stocks, too: Copeland and Cutting were hailed as the next generation up to this match, today that reputation has been utterly smashed.

  • JG2704 on November 6, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    @ScottStevo on (November 5, 2013, 20:16 GMT) I did say it was a road and didn't say it was against top opposition , but then again it is also his most recent form. 2 months can be a long time in cricket , we see players go out of form in that time and come back into form and vice versa. Look at how Bell did in the home series vs NZ and compare to how he did vs Aus. Obviously a knock on a road vs a substandard attack doesn't equate that he'll be in similar form in the tests but neither does form from a few months ago mean that he'll be in similar test form this time around

  • JG2704 on November 6, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    @CS - MC is proving me wrong as it stands. I'm guessing the difference both in pressure and quality of bowling in the tests will be a whole lot different but he now looks nailed on to open so well done on your insight. I just presumed that Compton was the scapegoat for Eng's long term masterplan as it seems they couldn't wait to out him. Maybe they just couldn't wait to out him anyway

    @Milhouse79 on (November 6, 2013, 1:37 GMT) Not heard that one re Gooch but it could be the case . For me Eng change their policies depending on who it is

  • jmcilhinney on November 6, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Toff on (November 6, 2013, 6:02 GMT), I don't think that Cook actually had a genuine back injury but rather just some stiffness that has righted itself since. I'm guessing that his back probably felt better as the day went on. Given that Cook didn't play the first game and Carberry is batting for a place in the first Test, I think that it's reasonable that they didn't retire. Had this been a 3-day game then I would think differently but there's still plenty of time for the rest of the batsman to have a good hit with 3 days still to play. Broad must be wondering whether he'll get a bowl at all!

  • HatsforBats on November 6, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    What a boring days play, I want my 6 hours back. I feel sorry for the A guys, & I must say if this is a deliberate plan to starve England of any real challenge I completely disagree with it. Selecting a team with just 2 medium pacers and a couple of all-rounders is pathetic. This clearly indicates none of the AA XI are in contention for test selection. One positive is that England might select Carberry for Brisbane. Leading edges, edges through gully, a dozen plays & misses...yes please. England won't get much out of this match except some miles in the legs.

  • Mitty2 on November 6, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    Well when we take in only one genuinely good bowler, one alright one (Copeland) a medium pace all rounder and a mediocre spinner who's not in the top 4 best spinners in the country you get this. Completely intentional from CA of course. Prepare ridiculously flat pitches, load up the batting, lighten up the bowling... All set for green tracks this Ashes which means... MJ's a certainty! Interesting that Faulkner's not playing... He must be a serious chance as well.

    Cutting bowled well all throughout and beat the bat heaps and came close with two LBWs just pitching outside leg. Copeland beat the bat a lot but he's too slow, too old and he actually chucks it (reminds me of Gannon) - he's a good old FC threatening trundler (smashed it up in the County) but nothing in the real stuff. Holland doesn't turn it and was put under solid pressure from Carberry, and Henriques is a 6th bowler at best - although he did have Cook LBW (hitting off) in the first session.

  • HatsforBats on November 6, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    @ Lmaotsetung, you're right, going from slow turning wickets to slow turning wickets in India directly correlates with going from medium pacers on slow placid wickets to 145+ on a bouncing green 'gabba/waca strip.

  • Shaggy076 on November 6, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    Marcus Stubbs; It's on free to air, nine digital station think its Gem (209 on Foxtel)

  • jmcilhinney on November 6, 2013, 6:08 GMT

    @Marcus Stubbs on (November 6, 2013, 5:00 GMT), it's also being streamed on the CA web site.

  • Anderson_Edward on November 6, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    One positive for Australia today, is that there is no need to fear bowling 90 overs if Watson is injured. The elegant left hander, Australias best young batsman showed he can chip in with some quality overs. For mine he is straight in if Watson out like for like player.

  • 1st_april on November 6, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    What number do i have to add to the Australian 1st class bowling averages to level them up?.......i am addled at the fact that even Moises Henriques has a 1st class bowling average of 28!

  • Albie_Hanekom on November 6, 2013, 6:02 GMT

    England batted well but you have to wonder why Cook didn't retire hurt to give the other batsmen a go. Why whould he risk hurting his back by staying out there all day.

  • Lmaotsetung on November 6, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    So Australia taking a page out of India by giving Eng flat pitches and crappy oppositions for their warmups then producing bouncing greentops for the Ashes. We all know how that went in India...lol

  • smudgeon on November 6, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    Marcus Stubbs - point your TV to Gem, buddy. But...unless you're an England fan, or like looking at Mt Wellington & yachts on the Derwent, it's pretty grim viewing...

  • smudgeon on November 6, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    I think given Carberry is currently on 139, Root is probably going to bat at 6, yes.

  • trav29 on November 6, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    cook showing today just how much being labelled boring by warne has worried him ...

  • keshav021 on November 6, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Are they still playing in india?

  • MinusZero on November 6, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    Are they playing Australia A or Australia F?

  • on November 6, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    can anyone tell me where I can watch this game? Foxtel not showng it here in Aus?

  • on November 6, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    Cutting and Copeland bowled well in their opening spell but were unlucky not to break through.This is where out and out pace and hostility from an enforcer like Johnson is needed. I really do hope that Cutting gets amongst the wickets however because he looks quite impressive.

  • Liquefierrrr on November 6, 2013, 2:47 GMT

    To those 'boo-hooing' at Warney - England give as good as they get, this is standard stuff - move on.

    That said, it is funny to watch England's captain and fans squirm at the pressure-points Warne has honed in on. Gower and Willis are useless at this pre-series spin, Warne has hit several nerves here.

    What I take from Cook's typically reserved and elongated sentiments is that Root will not open in Brisbane but this is not a line through his name.

    This is wise as he is still very young and, whilst talented, this will do more harm than good (to open with him).

  • Chris_P on November 6, 2013, 2:27 GMT

    @Mitty2. You're right. Just watching Carberry bat, that is one ugly helmet! Ugly helmets should be banned! On a serious note, your post sums it all up, I guess the Poms are trying to transition into their next phase, unfortunately, at some point in time in your 30's the form just starts to dip on a consistent rate, always goes a little up then goes down. Transitions are the hardest to manage no matter who you are. We did ok early on with Jones, Geoff Marsh, Healy etc, but we botched it up big time a couple of years later (re: Katich for example).

  • Jaffa79 on November 6, 2013, 1:37 GMT

    It is clear that there is something about Compton's character that hasn't sat well with the England hierarchy. I heard something about Compton being a very uptight and intense character and that he was not willing to work on his technique with Graham Gooch. I really don't know if there is any truth to this or whether or not it should be a reason for dropping him if it is true. He definitely looked intense when he was batting against NZ. I just have memories of Ramprakash batting looking like a man on death row and think Compton might be of the same ilk. Those type of players can be too introspective to be able to contribute in team sport.

  • dunger.bob on November 5, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    I'm definitely no expert on English cricket so I'll keep my comments pretty general.

    Re Root : The lad's 22, already got a 180 against us under his belt and most England fans seem to think he's the real deal. I'm not going to dispute that because he looks pretty good to me too. Ok then, going with that I think he should be opening. Age shouldn't matter. One of our national treasures, good old Bill Lawry has a saying "If you're good enough, you're old enough." and I reckon he's right. Besides, how old was Cook when he started opening? It would have something similar wouldn't it. Seems he's been around forever but he's still actually quite young.

    Look, we're not a very good side atm but I don't think we're completely hopeless either. If you send someone out to open the innings who isn't really up to Test standard (Carberry?) you'll probably find that Harris and Siddle are good enough to fix him right up.

    It is nice to see this sort of discussion coming from the England camp though

  • on November 5, 2013, 23:33 GMT

    Root is taller than Carberry. Lol @ Warnie.

  • Gaswell on November 5, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    The attack of Aust A looks a bit limp. If England don`t a huge score here they should be very concerned.

  • landl47 on November 5, 2013, 22:35 GMT

    @Cricketing Stargazer: I have to point out that England did take a spare opener to India. His name was Joe Root. The fact that they gave him a game in the last test at #6 doesn't mean that he wasn't an opener when he was selected; he's always been an opener for Yorkshire.

    I'm amazed that this debate is going on. Root is a 22-year old who hadn't made his test debut a year ago and has since made 2 test hundreds, one as an opener. He top scored in 2 of England's 10 innings in the recent Ashes series (and was not out in another) and he got out to some very good deliveries, which would have dismissed anyone.

    The ONLY reason for putting him back down at #6 is if England doesn't think any of the potential candidates for the position (Bairstow, Ballance and Stokes) can do the job. Root's going to be a top-class opener; his youth and lack of experience mean he will be inconsistent, but he's already shown he's got the ability. Show some patience.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 5, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    The issue here is not whether Root has got the chops to open. He does and moreover England back him. If Bairstow had nailed down the number 6 spot we wouldn't be talking about Carberry. That is the problem spot in the order and Carberry might be the solution because Root has the versatility to bat in any position.

    Warne's scattermouth gob often misses the target and on this occasion he might unintentionally be doing England a favour.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    @JG2704 My previous reply did not pass moderation for some reason. However, the point that I made was that England can go one of two ways. You have to judge whether Carberry opening and Root at 6 will produce more runs than Root opening and (probably) Bairstow at 6. I argued in the summer that Compton opening and Root at 6 would produce more runs that Root opening and Bairstow at 6 and I am prepared to stick to my guns here: Root has been doing an exceptional job at 6 in all formats. We need someone to blunt the new ball because, to be honest, last summer once you got past the new ball the Australian attack was not particularly penetrative.

    Whatever happens though, it won't be a knee-jerk reaction. Carberry will have to make runs at least once more. Granted that Bangladesh A were not great opposition, but you can only make runs against what you face and, aside from Trott and Bell, he was the only one who did against the Western Australia Chairman's XI.

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 5, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    @jG2704, yeah Trott has runs against an average state side bit I was referring to his form against Australia which was poor during the Ashes. I think it is fair to say his recent innings is promising but his test form will tell the story, as it will for all players on both sides. One thing is sure though is that he is a quality player and if he has sorted himself out he will no doubt be a handful for the Aussies. I'm not here to make inflammatory swipes, that is lunge's domain! Only a few weeks to go!

  • Juiceoftheapple on November 5, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    Yep totally agree with this. Let Root develop at 6. Give an experienced blunter a go with Cook. I like the cut of Carberry's jib, he gets his head down and works hard, and I'd like the romance of Carberry playing a role in an ashes winning side before Root or Chopra take a top order birth. Compton could have done the job as well, and might have been there if he didnt fire his mouth off about being dropped. Rather would have had a look at Ballance in a lesser series. Bairstow should be cutting his teeth in ODIs. Stokes doesnt quite look like a test all rounder for me, and likewise would prefer he nailed down an ODI berth first. I like the look of Chopra a lot, I think he's the future, with Root and anyone else down the order who proves their worth. Big question for me is that I really really want one of the tall quicks to break free of the pack and nail a spot, so the Aussies never have a breather.

  • ScottStevo on November 5, 2013, 20:16 GMT

    @JG2704, I don't think a practice match equates to form; and the only form Trott will be judged on is his test form, which you'd have to agree with F-F-S, is poor. You must also consider not only the road that was played on, but the opposition, ie, WA 2nd XI! I think that 1 of the new ball bowlers in that match has an FC avg of 70! I wouldn't be using that as a yardstick! Nice that he's had a good hit out, but that's about it!

    As for Root, I agree with@Mitty2 in that it was odd to promote the youngster to open in such a huge series when he was progressing nicely in the middle order. It's not uncommon to learn your trade lower in the order and move up the ranks as you grow into int'l cricket. Now, there's a dilemma, as if he's demoted, that might play on his confidence. I'd say you've got to stick with your choice come what may and let the lad learn the hard way, sink or swim. But, unlike Oz, realise his potential and back him to come good with a few series to prove himself.

  • JG2704 on November 5, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @Front-Foot-Sponge on (November 5, 2013, 13:59 GMT) Albeit on an apparent road of a pitch Trott's most recent form was 100+ not out

    @Trickstar on (November 5, 2013, 17:28 GMT) Not saying Nick definitely should not have been dropped or definitely should return but which other player scored 2 tons on those NZ roads and which other Eng player was being talked about by the media re losing his place in that series?

  • JG2704 on November 5, 2013, 18:32 GMT

    @guycollier118 - It seems that way but I would have thought that the runrate at the other end should not bother Cook and if that's an excuse for his poor summer form then it seems pretty lame to me and if the RR is such a problem then why isn't he doing something to address that aspect within his own game? The other point is that will MC necessarily improve this aspect? We saw what he did in the domestic season in shorter formats but he hardly carried that positive intent into the international arena in the ODIs

    @CricketingStargazer - Indeed - re Carberry - but is Bangladesh A even par with our division 2? I'm judging him on what I saw of him in England colours vs Aus (albeit in ODIs) and as already pointed out NC has averaged better in a league above.

  • 64blip on November 5, 2013, 18:23 GMT

    I suppose the fact Carberry is there means they were always considering the option. I'm not sure he offers much, but hey, I thought dropping Finn on the last tour was wrong and that turned out for the best. Definitely not Stokes at 6 though, you need someone capable of a test 100 batting there and Stokes isn't that at the moment. Ballance has made no mark for England so far and Bairstow seems to be there as keeping backup, so you'd have to fancy Root at 6 if Carberry opens with Cook. In fact, that almost sounds like they need Root back at 6!

  • Trickstar on November 5, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    @Adam Sutherland Could you tell me what you're basing that opinion on, that Carberry will be more consistent. Is it his performances for Hampshire last season in Division 2, or how he performed against the Aussies in the one day series. To me it seems amazing how good Carberry's got while he's not been playing for England or doing very much full stop. His technique is poor imo, with his high back lift, he was consistently late on the ball, to anything bowled over 80 odd mph. He plays with a slanted bat a lot of the time, that's why he nicks off to decent bowling and his defense is not up to much because he leaves a gap between bat and pad.

    @Neil Dyer Give over, Compton was pretty ordinary his whole time for England that's why his average is under 32. Yes he got those 2 tons but they were on roads in NZ. He was pretty poor in India and poor in England. The difference was that Cook was scoring runs in India but that's not a surprise because he averages 10 runs higher away from home

  • Dadders on November 5, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Root has the temperament, class and adaptability to suggest he should open the batting. He is an opener by trade, serving Yorkshire with distinction.

    He can knuckle down and play a solid defensive innings as he did in India. He can score tons as against NZ, or large tons as against Australia at Lords. He's got the lot - he just needs backing. The Cook/Root left/right handed partnership can be the future for England for the next decade

    He will get a few low scores, openers are more likely to than other batsmen. He'll also score well. I think he'll actually enjoy the quicker wickets in Australia, with the ball bouncing rather than swinging more.

    In the absence of Bresnan injured, personally I'd start the first test with - Cook, Root, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Ballance, Prior, Swann, Broad, Anderson, Rankin

  • Trickstar on November 5, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    I honestly cant believe Carberry's getting talked up. Didn't anyone see how completely useless he was against the Aussies in the one day series, he looked all at sea against them, a total walking wicket. Anyone that will has followed his County cricket career will know he's a bit of a flat track bully and is rank against good bowling. He certainly didn't get picked for this tour off County form where he averaged just over 30. For all Root's problems in England I'd bet my house on him getting more runs than Carberry. I also think Root's back foot game is far more adapt for Australian conditions and also the way he plays the ball late and under his nose, will be far more effective than Carberry constantly nicking off to the slips. I also think that fact that both Cook and Trott didn't score anywhere near as many runs as Root as somehow reflected onto Root, which is poor.

  • on November 5, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    Root is the long term investment and should be persevered with. Not only is Carberry a short term pick, he's not really good enough for test cricket (just like Compton, both are solid county pros). Very few people just immediately excel opening the innings at test level.

  • on November 5, 2013, 16:17 GMT

    I love how Warne wants his 4 peneth even when not playing. 2010/2011 was nigh on as perfect as an Ashes series gets. No one but Broad got injured, Cook, Bell, Pietersen, Strauss, Prior and Trott all made hundreds and every bowler took wickets. We cannot expect it to happen again. We can hope, but not expect. Everyone loves to hop on the criticism bandwagon immediately that nothing goes perfectly. Why? So the bowlers were rubbish in the first game....they've just come from freezing, miserable England to boiling hot Australia having been on a day long flight. So Cook isn't as aggresive a captain as Clark. Dhoni is not as aggresive a captain as Clark but is he under fire? No. Just because something works for one, it doesn't for the other. Cook will do it his way and Clark his. Whether it works or not, depends on the players ability to respond to it. Have faith British public...have faith

  • on November 5, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    They took the call to go in wih Root, it wasn't a glowing success, but it wasn't a complete disaster either. Don't think Carberry is quite test class, so they should stick with Root, and bring Stokes or Balance in at 6. Playing Stokes won't be a bad idea at all, as he presents England with a proper 5th bowling option, Balance does look very promising indeed and if he's among the runs in the warm-ups, then he should get the chance.

  • on November 5, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    The beginning of all ashes series provoke nerves and second thinking. In the euccessful Illingworth tour of 1970, Luckhurst was picked and triumphed in a successful team that included both Boycott & Edrich. Compton is no longer in the picture. Pick Carberry to open with Cook and give them a couple of Tests. If Root makes runs lower down in the order, it can only add confidence to his talent. If he consolidates his position in the side, with runs, then use him as an opener later in the series, if it becomes necessary. Why take Carberry if he is not going to play.

  • Selassie-I on November 5, 2013, 14:55 GMT

    I am a big fan of Compton in the counties, however for me he never looked at home in test cricket, even during his 100s he looked a bit sketchy.

    Maybe due to Root's age it might be prudent to leave him at 6 for a year or so, Carberry is certainly the next best of the county openers, he's been through the whole lions/performance program setup and has been 2nd in line for quite some time. Again with Carb's age if he could get a year or two in the side under his belt then we could bring Rooty back to open, after all it's his natural position and I am always for playing an opener as an opener, not a fill in player, it's too important.

    On top of this for me none of the others have impressed enough yet.

  • ilford on November 5, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    Ravi Bopara should open the batting alongside Cook.

  • 2.14istherunrate on November 5, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    Basically nothing succeeds like 100= run opening partnerships. Who is best placed to provide them? The bare facts are that Compton did and Root has not. I tis early days yet but in a couple of weeks the first Test starts and then there is little room to recalculate batting orders. Root's problem in the summer was basically to be proactive. If he coulod watch a few videos of Atherton he might get an idea of manufacturing runs against good bowling. Root's shots are good when they happen but he was somewhat like an animal trapped in the headlamps a few times. He may of course find the pitches here suit his back foot style better and he is offered more opportunity to cut. I suspect he will open at Brisbane but after that it is open to conjecture. In the final analysis if Root and Carberry fail, Trott could do it and Bell move to 3, though that would leave the middle order lacking in experience. I suspect Root and Carberry will get a warm up each to make a case.

  • CodandChips on November 5, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Trott and Bell should be rested for tonights match and play the last warm up to keep form. Everyone should be given at least 2 matches if they're fighting for a place (eg 3rd seamers). My team for tonight: 1 Cook 2 Root 3 Carberry 4 KP 5 Balance 6 Bairstow 7 Prior 8 Broad 9 Swann 10 Anderson 11 Finn (last chance)

    Next warm up I'd pick the following- 1 Cook 2 Root 3 Trott 4 KP 5 Bell 6 Bairstow (wk) 7 Stokes 8 Broad 9 Tremlett 10 Rankin 11 Monty - Anderson and Swann need to be looked after and Bairstow should practise keeping, just in case.

    For Brisbane, most players should be picked on form, except automatic KP, Cook, Swann, Anderson and Prior. With Bell and Trott scoring runs, and I can't see any of the big men out bowling Broad, it just leaves opener, 6 and 3rd seamer. I hope Root to open, Balance 6 and after Finn's poor showing Rankin as 3rd seamer.

    On Carberry in the ODIs, I think he should have been allowed to play like he does for Hampshire, not bat like Bell/Cook.

  • on November 5, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    Can't help agreeing that Compton should be there, but he isn't, so who should they play. Carberry looks the better option to open and Root at six has worked well in the past. However, Stokes at six would make the bowling look a lot healthier, then Root would have to open.

  • on November 5, 2013, 14:03 GMT

    There is no choice, it must be Carberry to open. Compton will never make test standard. Root needs to be in the runs with the shine taken off the ball

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 5, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    Compton is gone so forget about that. Winning glossed over Root's poor performances in the recent series, I think it is a decent idea to being Carberry in but why move Root to 6? Will he be less prone to being an easy wicket at 6? Will they drop Cook if he remains short of runs and England lose? Not likely. Prior, Trott, Root, Cook - not players high on form exactly. What I don't get is that Onions is clearly a better bowler than Bresnan and the latter's batting hardly matters much. Yet, Onions is at home and an iffy Bresnan is in Australia. Very weird things are happening.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    @JG2704 There was a broad hint in the selection of the party. The selectors did not take a spare opener to India and New Zealand: the opening pair was going to be Compton and Cook, or Compton and Cook (and it was remarked on at the time). Here they *did* select a spare specialist opener to leave their options open, even knowing that they would have the players from the Performance Squad on hand in case someone broke a finger the day before a match.

    Very little that Andy Flower does is not thought out and with intent. He was probably hoping that Root would make a murderous ton in Perth, but has left his options open.

    Din't Carberry have an absolutely brutal innings for the Lions against Bangladesh A in the summer? (Checks scores... 20, 146 & 16 in the three unofficial ODIs - and he took 3 wickets too!)

  • MarkTaffin on November 5, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    This nonsense that Carberry is a more attacking option than Compton is just rubbish, Root was sold as a fast scoring opener this summer but his strike rate was no better than Compton's - because that's the way openers bat with the odd exception - Gayle, Sewag, etc- and Carberry isn't in their class. To score you have to actually hit the ball, and the jury is very much out on Carbs at this level (and probably at a lower one too). However, Carberry selection will either turn out to be a stroke of genius, or a total disaster in the final days of the Flower-Miller management junta.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 5, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    @Mitty2 (post on November 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT): I know we've had our differences, but on this particular topic I think we've been in total agreement for quite some time. Why on Earth ECB decided to use a hardcore Ashes series to suddenly hoist Root up to open, and inexplicably ignore Compton is beyond me. O.K. Root's ton at Lords showed glimpses of what could/can be, and led to me making some knee-jerk comments that sounded like a change of heart - but hang on, the guy was dropped on 6 and hardly set the world alight throughout the rest of the series! Not convinced about Root opening in tests yet at all, regardless of where he bats in county cricket. Having Carberry open instead would be the lesser of two evils in my opinion, but the biggest loser in all this is no doubt Compton - weak scores against NZ or not. The likes of Carberry, Rankin and Tremlett are very lucky blokes to be on this tour at all and chosen purely on promise or even a whim at best. = Very strange and risky...

  • o-bomb on November 5, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    I would say Root has yet to prove himself as a test opener. If 3 of our best 6 batters are openers this shouldn't stop us from picking all 3. Carberry played well in Perth and if he keeps going in the same vein I'd pick him at the top for the Brisbane test match, putting Root back at 6. It'll be interesting to see how the next warm up game goes.

  • heathrf1974 on November 5, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    I would put in Compton or Carberry at opener and Root at six. He's a quality player and should be protected until he gains more experience.

  • landl47 on November 5, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    Alastair Cook is a character who gives little away, so I wouldn't read too much into his comments here. Joe Root was top scorer for England in the first innings of the last test England played, with 68 at The Oval. I fully expect him to open at Brisbane. He's 22 and likely to be somewhat inconsistent, but his adaptability, to which Cook referred, will see him make such changes as are needed as he develops his batting as an opener.

    If anything, I'd be more worried about Cook's form. He looked in no sort of touch in the Ashes series. If the wickets for the test series are seam-friendly, it exposes the weakness in his game- lateral movement. He has no problem whatever with pace, in fact the faster the bowling the better he bats. It's the medium pacers who move it late with whom he has most trouble.

    @guycollier118: Cook opened with Compton in 9 games and scored 5 hundreds. So much for that theory.

  • LaneyMEngland on November 5, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    I think the arguments about Compton should be put to bed, he looked like a disaster waiting to happen in every innings he played since his debut in India. With all due respect, the cautious hundreds in New Zealand have no bearing on how Compton looks when under real pressure in the big matches (the NZ innings were a different kind of personal pressure which will not translate to Brisbane Day 1 2013). I wouldn't want him looking frightened to death of failure walking out on the first morning of an Ashes series, as he surely would. Carberry seems an odd selection in many ways but sometimes you have to go with a gut feeling for a player you think has 'got it', regardless of his age and general record. I remember Bill Athey opening for England in 1986-7, nobody thought he was up to it, but he did the business for England when it mattered, on Day 1 of a new Ashes series. Just can't see Compton doing the same. I'm no fan of Carberry, but he has my backing to go out and make an impact.

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on November 5, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Root at 6 has a very solid feel to it. He'll score stacks of runs there, a much safer bet than Bairstow or Ballance. I think Carberry is pretty average but he's experienced and he'll keep the scoreboard ticking along. And yes, it is hard on Compton. We'll find out what Cook and Flower are thinking when they announce the batting order for Hobart!

  • nzcricket174 on November 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    Copmton was drawn a hard hand. It was a bit rough dropping him. I know that 7(45) v NZ was an absolute shocker, but the English team had so much more balance with Root at 6 and him opening.

  • Mitty2 on November 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT

    I would be absolutely fuming if I was Compton. This is the sort of selection that Australia would make. Root prospering at 6, Compton scoring two consecutive centuries not two months earlier, but they decide to ridiculously elevate Root to opening at Compton's expense. What's worse is that the selectors won't admit their mistakes and are now going for an older, less talented, less experienced and less in form batsman in Carberry. Compton did well against us in the tour games; Carberry did nothing. Look at Neil Dyer's comment - 43 (div 2) average vs 50 average (div 1). Pathetic. Eng selectors now looking even worse with the stupid decision to include all of Rankin, Finn and Tremlett (all of whom have no real FC form behind them) over Onions who has done nothing wrong in his tests and has averaged under 20 yet again with the ball in div 1. If Eng keep on undermining their county system they're going to end uo like we are now...

    Brettig don't insult Rogers. Carberry won't make a run.

  • JG2704 on November 5, 2013, 12:09 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST - To add to ND's comms. You seem to doubt his ability to perform under pressure but then there was initial media talk about him being dropped to make way for Root to open before the away series in NZ. It seemed the Sky commentators were being sponsored to talk about it such was the level of discussion. How did Nick respond - he scored 2 tons in that series.

    @guycollier118 - It seems that way but I would have thought that the runrate at the other end should not bother Cook and if that's an excuse for his poor summer form then it seems pretty lame to me and if the RR is such a problem then why isn't he doing something to address that aspect within his own game? The other point is that will MC necessarily improve this aspect? We saw what he did in the domestic season in shorter formats but he hardly carried that positive intent into the international arena in the ODIs

  • JG2704 on November 5, 2013, 12:08 GMT

    @CS - Well I genuinely didn't see this coming at all. Mind you I didn't see Carb's test selection coming after an unconvincing CC season etc. Maybe they want(ed) some positive intent at the top and thought Root would provide that but he had been as laboured as Compton. Then again I didn't think MC showed much positive intent in the ODIs so for me it's a strange one all round

  • Dr.Vindaloo on November 5, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    No point arguing Compton's case - his chance has been and gone. It's clear that his face doesn't fit in the current England set up. Too intense, too much in his own bubble, not sufficiently focused on the team around him - though to be fair that is what will always happen if you feel on trial for your place every time you come to the wicket. Finn and Bairstow have been flaky performers over the last year but clearly fit better into the team environment.

  • guycollier118 on November 5, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    Carberry was selected ahead of Compton as he is a more attacking option to open the batting and take the pressure of Cook if England do decide to shuffle Root back down to 6.

    Cook struggled in the summer due to the lack of aggression from Root/Trott at the other end. Much as he did when he opened with Nick Compton. The selection of Carberry over Compton seemed odd at first sight but is beginning to make more sense now the opening game approaches. England have more options with this balance.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST you are forgetting Compton was batting with a broken finger against New Zealand (courtesy of Graham Gooch's throwdowns). And that run of scores is not really any worse than Joe Root's efforts against a pretty poor Australian attack. Carberry has done nowhere near enough to justify an opening slot in the Ashes (see my earlier post with 2013 stats). Chickens are coming home to roost in terms of selection before even the second warm up match. If Andy Flower does not privately wish that he had Nick Compton and Graham Onions in his squad...

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 5, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I like Comton for those mentioning him but it's not surprising he got dropped he didn't make 20 once in his last 6 innings v a weak inexperienced New Zealand. Last 6 scores were 12, 2, 16, 15 and that bizarre 7 from 45 balls after England declined follow on and he was batting like they were fighting for a draw. I knew when he walked off at Headingley despite his runs in New Zealand that innings would be it for him and he would unlikely be back anytime soon. He unfortunately completely crumbled under pressure under the media microscope and Ashes speculation. It's great Carberry gets another shot after his unfortunate injury and Comton may still have another chance of return in future years.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I hope Nick Compton has a sense of humour! Carberry has now overtaken him as first-pick England opener. 2013 County Championship - Compton 1001 runs in Division One at 50.05; Carberry 687 runs at 42.93 in Division Two. Oh, and Carberry is 3 years nearer retirement as well. Sorry, I just remembered. Compton doesn't play for a fashionable enough club.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Carberry will be more consistent at the top of the order, Joe Root's undeniable talent can be better used, for now, at no 6, where he has flourished. Carberry deserves a chance after consistent runs in country cricket. My team for Brisbane: Cook, Carberry, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Root, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Tremlett.

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 5, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    England are a much stronger side with Carberry instead of Bairstow whether he or Root open or bat at 6.

  • northumbriannomad on November 5, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    So, if they don't want to open with Root, why have they not picked Compton? The fact that the middle order always has to dig them out from about 20-3 can hardly have just occurred to them now, as they haven't played a Test match since August.

    It seems that, just as Geoff Miller retires, England's selection process is reverting to the headless-chicken mode it was in before he took over.

  • bumble23 on November 5, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    England should bring on Compton in place of carberry or Root. He displayed loads of patience against india, newzealnd and should be given a longer run. As warne rightly said, joe root would struggle against quality bowlers as an opener.

  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    It would be precipitate to promote Carberry on the basis of a single innings however, if he were to get more runs before the 1st Test, it makes a lot of sense to have him as an opener. He's made a lot of runs since his only Test so far, despite coming back from life-threatening illness. He has been consistent and deserves a chance if he can get the runs before Brisbane to justify it.

    The simple fact of the matter is that despite his 180 v Australia, Joe Root does not look comfortable as a Test opener and the consistent runs that he offered at 6 have dried up, leaving England with a hole in the top order and another that has been opened at 6. Long-term he will undoubtedly open, but his success has been at 6 and it is probably best to bat him where he is successful.

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  • CricketingStargazer on November 5, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    It would be precipitate to promote Carberry on the basis of a single innings however, if he were to get more runs before the 1st Test, it makes a lot of sense to have him as an opener. He's made a lot of runs since his only Test so far, despite coming back from life-threatening illness. He has been consistent and deserves a chance if he can get the runs before Brisbane to justify it.

    The simple fact of the matter is that despite his 180 v Australia, Joe Root does not look comfortable as a Test opener and the consistent runs that he offered at 6 have dried up, leaving England with a hole in the top order and another that has been opened at 6. Long-term he will undoubtedly open, but his success has been at 6 and it is probably best to bat him where he is successful.

  • bumble23 on November 5, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    England should bring on Compton in place of carberry or Root. He displayed loads of patience against india, newzealnd and should be given a longer run. As warne rightly said, joe root would struggle against quality bowlers as an opener.

  • northumbriannomad on November 5, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    So, if they don't want to open with Root, why have they not picked Compton? The fact that the middle order always has to dig them out from about 20-3 can hardly have just occurred to them now, as they haven't played a Test match since August.

    It seems that, just as Geoff Miller retires, England's selection process is reverting to the headless-chicken mode it was in before he took over.

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 5, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    England are a much stronger side with Carberry instead of Bairstow whether he or Root open or bat at 6.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    Carberry will be more consistent at the top of the order, Joe Root's undeniable talent can be better used, for now, at no 6, where he has flourished. Carberry deserves a chance after consistent runs in country cricket. My team for Brisbane: Cook, Carberry, Trott, Pietersen, Bell, Root, Prior, Broad, Swann, Anderson, Tremlett.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I hope Nick Compton has a sense of humour! Carberry has now overtaken him as first-pick England opener. 2013 County Championship - Compton 1001 runs in Division One at 50.05; Carberry 687 runs at 42.93 in Division Two. Oh, and Carberry is 3 years nearer retirement as well. Sorry, I just remembered. Compton doesn't play for a fashionable enough club.

  • BRUTALANALYST on November 5, 2013, 10:23 GMT

    I like Comton for those mentioning him but it's not surprising he got dropped he didn't make 20 once in his last 6 innings v a weak inexperienced New Zealand. Last 6 scores were 12, 2, 16, 15 and that bizarre 7 from 45 balls after England declined follow on and he was batting like they were fighting for a draw. I knew when he walked off at Headingley despite his runs in New Zealand that innings would be it for him and he would unlikely be back anytime soon. He unfortunately completely crumbled under pressure under the media microscope and Ashes speculation. It's great Carberry gets another shot after his unfortunate injury and Comton may still have another chance of return in future years.

  • on November 5, 2013, 10:58 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST you are forgetting Compton was batting with a broken finger against New Zealand (courtesy of Graham Gooch's throwdowns). And that run of scores is not really any worse than Joe Root's efforts against a pretty poor Australian attack. Carberry has done nowhere near enough to justify an opening slot in the Ashes (see my earlier post with 2013 stats). Chickens are coming home to roost in terms of selection before even the second warm up match. If Andy Flower does not privately wish that he had Nick Compton and Graham Onions in his squad...

  • guycollier118 on November 5, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    Carberry was selected ahead of Compton as he is a more attacking option to open the batting and take the pressure of Cook if England do decide to shuffle Root back down to 6.

    Cook struggled in the summer due to the lack of aggression from Root/Trott at the other end. Much as he did when he opened with Nick Compton. The selection of Carberry over Compton seemed odd at first sight but is beginning to make more sense now the opening game approaches. England have more options with this balance.

  • Dr.Vindaloo on November 5, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    No point arguing Compton's case - his chance has been and gone. It's clear that his face doesn't fit in the current England set up. Too intense, too much in his own bubble, not sufficiently focused on the team around him - though to be fair that is what will always happen if you feel on trial for your place every time you come to the wicket. Finn and Bairstow have been flaky performers over the last year but clearly fit better into the team environment.