Jason Roy given last chance to prove he can make it as England opener in third Ashes Test

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Jason Roy will be given one more Test to prove he can make it as an opener before England cut their losses and shift him into the middle order where head coach Trevor Bayliss thinks he belongs.

Right now Joe Denly remains in possession of the coveted number four position, but that has hardly been a resounding success either.

England’s decision makers still believe Roy has what it takes to make it as a Test match batsman, but his returns so far alongside his best mate Rory Burns have been negligible.

And while the upside of his swashbuckling style of play could be an electric start to England’s innings, he hasn’t hung around long enough yet for anyone to find out if he can cut it.

“Personally I think he is a middle order player, but the one spot available was at the top,” said Bayliss.

Jason Roy has been given a last chance to impress as an opener

“That meant Jason coming in and with his experience of white ball cricket, yes we know it’s different, that’s the option we took.

“It hasn’t worked yet but he could easily come out and blast a quick 100. Long term he’s more middle order, he’d feel more comfortable there.”

Denly actually has more experience of opening the batting in first-class cricket than Roy, so it does beg the question why haven’t they made the switch already?

This is an issue that will have been thrashed out in the selection meeting, and yet somehow they will go into the third Test placing square pegs in round holes leaving something for the next coach to deal with when Bayliss is done.

For now though, the only concern is to get enough runs out of the players they’ve got to give their bowlers something to work with.

England’s Jason Roy during the nets session at Headingley

Joe Denly is also under pressure at No.4

They will continue with Ben Stokes at number five and will ask Jonny Bairstow to bat at six above Jos Buttler if he hasn’t already kept wicket.

It is a fluid and flexible structure that cuts against the grain as far as Bayliss is concerned, but for this match and potentially for the series, England will stay light and nimble in the hope it works as well as it did in Sri Lanka.

“Personally I’d like to see the guys stick to a position and everyone becomes comfortable but it is one of the difficulties,” added Bayliss.

“The all-rounders having to back up after bowling or keeping is one of the challenges, exactly what the answer is we’re trying to work it out.

“It’s something we have to look at going forward. There might come a time when we have to put a foot down and say no, this is what’s happening. Like it or lump it.”



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