My Xi for the 3rd test
So we’ve all agreed to not speak about that test match haven’t we? Oh, we haven’t? Real quick then. That was embarrassing to the nth degree and England need a strong comeback this week, that may not mean winning but just competing and not being totally destroyed.
Of course this test is a DN game so naturally the seamers will come into it more but we still don’t know the state of the pitch so i will be doing this selection a little bit funky. If the pitch is a green top, with Shami and Umesh Yadav rumoured to be fit this wouldn’t surprise me, then i’ll be using team A if it’s a bunsen, which if you’re Shastri and Kohli you’re begging the ground staff to make, then i’d use team B. So let’s get stuck in.
Ben Foakes (wk)
So the top 7 is identical except for Crawley in for Lawrence. As much as I love Lawrence and do feel he will score many test runs for England he needs a rest, shoved in at a position he isn’t comfortable at against the best attack in the world is always going to be tough so it’s time to take him out of the firing line. Crawley comes in (if fit) as i do feel that when it comes to pace and seam he is one of England's better batsmen and he can really dominate the new ball bowling (if Crawley isn’t fit i would play Bairstow at 3 over Lawrence). Rory Burns holds his spot but is skating on thin ice, a failure in this test could be the first tug on the curtains of his test career. I do like Burns and I back him to succeed and if the ball is seaming he’s shown his value to England in the past. 4-7 remains the same with not one batsmen facing any real threat for his spot; there is something to be said for Stokes at 6 and having him bowl a bit more but with the way England batted in the last game the difference between 5 and 6 isn’t huge. England need their captain and vice captain to really step up in this game and confirm their status as modern day batting greats. Ollie Pope is someone who England should stick by for a while. He has an abundance of talent and will deliver more often than not (plus he needs some cricket). Ben Foake, yeah we can all agree on that.
The bowling attack looks a bit new with 3 seamers all of whom offer something new. Woakes is a new bearded bowler who is not only very effective if the conditions are seam friendly but who also has learnt a new way of bowling overseas that (from an admittedly small pool of evidence) seem to be effective. Archer is a special bowler who England need to cherish and if the surface is conducive to any form of movement he can exploit it. Anderson is England's main hope in this game and they need their top gun to deliver. Leach will be the sole spinner with a few overs from Joe Root to aid him. Leach has seemingly found his pace as a bowler and is England's first choice spinner from here on out. One criticism of Leach is that he needs to dig the ball in a little bit more and I wouldn't be surprised if he starts to do this in this game. Ben Stokes should also chip in with a few handy overs.
This bowling attack offers great control with all the seamers and the ability to exploit any movement with the old or new ball under lights. The batting lineup is balanced but is one that can score runs quickly past the openers which if the pitch is as tricky to bat on as before is vital.
Ben Foakes (wk)
So if the pitch is turning the changes are few. Johnny Bairstow comes in for Crawley as he is objectively one of England's best players of spin. If the pitch is turning I would use this as an opportunity to rest Crawley some more and also let Burns have another shot and if he fails to deliver then Creepy could well be opening in the final test. Dom Bess comes back in after being dropped/rested (depending on how you interpret Roots comments) and offers support as the 2nd spinner to Leach. Dom Bess has faced far worse troubles in his time as a cricketer and is a strong tenacious character who I would expect to bounce back.
So there we have it by my side (or sides) for the 3rd test. I do feel this is England's best chance at securing a result and if they do then it will truly be historic! Do you agree with my selection let me know on Twitter @therunoutblog1