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

Tanya Simon
September 12, 2019

Australia, on the other hand, have successfully retained the urn after their 4-0 win at home in 2017-18.

Ben Stokes will play as a specialist batsman because of a shoulder injury, which has prompted selectors to swing the axe on Roy.

"We have to use the next two-and-a-half years to focus on putting in a winning tour down under", said Root.

"James Pattinson is someone who we've been really pleased with what he's done in his return to Test cricket over here, he's bowling very, very well", Paine said.

"I think the good thing is we have so many contributors in our side, everyone's really hungry to do well and I think we've seen that throughout the series".

Stokes is England's top-scorer in the series, with 354 runs and two centuries but, with the exception of Rory Burns, the rest of the batsmen have struggled to build totals for the bowlers to defend.

While the Ashes have been retained, captain Tim Paine said the ambition is to win the series and, for that reason, the last Test is a like a "grand final" for the tourists. The herculean example provided by Stokes at Headingley, where he virtually bowled 24 overs unchanged in the third innings before conjuring a batting miracle in the fourth, has set a high bar, but Paine reckoned that Marsh, at 27, could still reach similar heights. Of course, I've not performed as I would have liked but that's part and parcel of Test cricket, ' he added. That's the full focus of this group, so we've got to make sure that we win this game'.

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To stand any chance of levelling the series, the World Cup winners will have to find a way to solve the riddle of the immovable Steve Smith, who has scored 671 runs in just five innings at an astonishing average of more than 134.

Australia coach Justin Langer, revelling in having the world's top-ranked batsman and bowler at his disposal, is urging the other batsmen to step up in the match starting on Thursday, even though he admits they lack experience.

"We know Joe Root's a fantastic cricketer", he said.

"To finish off so dominantly with the bat I think is really pleasing as well".

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

Paceman Craig Overton has also been left out for the clash at the Oval, with all-rounders Sam Curran and Chris Woakes, who made way for Overton at Old Trafford last week, coming into the side.

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