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England Hope to Finalise Top-three During Windies Tour

The top-order has been a source of concern for England in recent years, with Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns being the combination during the Sri Lanka tour. Jonny Bairstow had replaced Ben Stokes at three in the final Test match of the series.

Cricketnext Staff |January 19, 2019, 10:31 PM IST
England Hope to Finalise Top-three During Windies Tour

The first Test of England’s West Indies tour begins on Wednesday, and coach Trevor Bayliss hopes to be able get clarity about the top-three of the batting order during this series, especially with the all-important Ashes in August.

The top-order has been a source of concern for England in recent years, with Keaton Jennings and Rory Burns being the combination during the Sri Lanka tour. Jonny Bairstow had replaced Ben Stokes at three in the final Test match of the series.

"It's no secret that's what we have been trying to find over the past few years," Bayliss told BBC Sport.

"We're starting to see some guys tick those boxes and make those positions their own."

Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss were the top two in the batting order for 161 Tests, with Jonathan Trott following them. But, after Strauss called time on his career in 2012, Cook had 12 different opening partners before he retired last year.

Jennings and Burns managed opening partnerships of 10, 60, 12, 22 and 3 in their five innings against Sri Lanka. England had won the three-match series 3-0.

Burns with 155 runs from his first six Test innings, made 68 in the second warm-up match on the West Indies tour. While Jennings, who smashed an unbeaten 146 in Pallekele, averages 26 from 28 innings but has scored a combined 17 runs in the two warm-up matches.

"They've certainly done as well as anyone else has over the past few years," Bayliss said.

"Hopefully they can kick on to another level and this series will be another opportunity for those guys."

Joe Root has made the number four spot his and that has opened up number three for which Bairstow, who played as a batsman and scored a century in his first Test innings in that role in Sri Lanka, is a contender.

England, who have not won a series in their last two trips across the Atlantic had beaten the West Indies 2-1 in 2017, in which Jason Holder's team chased down 322 at Headingley to win a Test in England for the first time in 17 years.

"It's a bit of a different pressure but West Indies have had some decent results over the past 12 to 18 months," said Bayliss.

"They beat us in a Test match not all that long ago, so I'm sure that will be fresh in the minds.

"I know full well that playing away from home against any Test nation is not easy. We'll have to play some good cricket to win."

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