Sir Andrew Strauss thinks England will make changes to their top order after another disappointing showing in the second Test defeat to India at Lord’s.
For the first time in Test history, both England openers were dismissed for ducks in the same innings of a home match and Strauss believes Dom Sibley could pay the price ahead of the third Test at Headingley.
Sibley averages just 14.25 across four innings in the series, albeit Joe Root (128.66) is the only England player averaging over 30, and with only one half-century in his last 15 Test innings, Strauss expects the 25-year-old right-hander to be replaced.
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“At some stage if you keep being two or three down for nothing, it’s going to come back to haunt you,” Strauss told Sky Sports.
“Yes, they were two good balls to get rid of Burns and Sibley but, of course, then Joe Root is under pressure, (Haseeb) Hameed is under pressure and then Jonny Bairstow and the middle order as well. You just can’t keep doing that time after time.
“I think it might be time to bring Sibley out of the firing line. He has looked out of touch. I think Ollie Pope is probably going to come back in, who has been in and around the squad, but is it right for him to be batting in the top three? It is not an easy solution.
“There are a lot of problems for England, no doubt about that. If they had got away with it again, we might have been able to paper over the cracks but not anymore.”
Former England captain Strauss also fears the manner of the defeat, with England going into day five as slight favourites, could hurt them ahead of the final three Tests.
“They were favourites this morning but let things slip before lunch and then had another top-order collapse,” he added.
England vs India
August 25, 2021, 10:00am
“Those early wickets put huge pressure on the middle order and India just had enough overs to bowl them out. It was feisty.
“Every series with India, and particularly (Virat) Kohli, is feisty and as the match was on the line you expected nothing else. It has been five brilliant days of Test cricket.
“India were exceptional and there were times when England looked like they were going to get out of jail but, in the end, you have to say that India deserved it, they did enough to win. England are going to be absolutely battered and bruised as a result of that.
“India thoroughly deserve to be one up.”
Watch day one of the third Test between England and India, at Emerald Headingley, on Wednesday, August 25, live on Sky Sports The Hundred from 10am.
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