England captain Joe Root is all set to bat at the No. 3 position in the upcoming Ashes series.
According to reports, the England skipper has volunteered to bat at that position as the team looks to solve the top-order woes which have been haunting them for a long time.
England openers have struggled as well and that has meant the No. 3 position has become all the more important for the team.
Since March 2014, only the retired Alistair Cook (4376) has scored more than 1000 runs at the top of the order for England, the next best figures belonging to Keaton Jennings with 755.
Seventeen players have been promoted to open the innings since then and just 23 of the 123 first-wicket stands have been worth more than 50.
However, Root’s record at that position isn’t as ominous as his preferred number 4 position. He averages 48 from 60 innings at No. 4 as compared to 40.47 from 40 innings at 3. Root’s highest Test score - 254 - though came at the number 3 position against Pakistan.
Root started the Test series against India batting at number 3, before moving back to the number 4 position in the second innings of the fourth Test at Southampton.
This shuffle in the batting order means Joe Denly is likely to bat at number 4 while relatively inexperienced Jason Roy and Rory Burns are set to be the new openers.
Head coach Trevor Bayliss has been quite clear in his stance, saying that the best batsman should be batting at number 3 position to put pressure on the opposition.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting too has backed Root to succeed at that spot.
“They have a lot of middle order players – Jonny Bairstow, (Jos) Buttler, Ben Stokes – all these guys can bat well in the middle, (but) they haven’t had a solid number three for a couple of years now.
“So I’d be tempted, if I was England, to lock Joe Root into number three. He’s obviously coming off a good World Cup as well, looks like he’s in really good control of his game, so now might be the best time for him to move up into that spot.
“The bottom line, I’d be thinking about what’s best for their team… If he thinks it’s in England’s best interest to bat at number three, then he should bat at number three." Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
The Ashes series though will certainly test the reserves of England players like Root and other senior stars like vice-captain Ben Stokes, Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, who were a part of the World Cup-winning team just two weeks back. They will have to switch gears quickly, something which they struggled to do in the one-off Test against Ireland.
First Ashes Test will be played in Edgbaston starting August 1.