Sydney: Joe Root and Ian Bell are the two candidates to replace Jonathan Trott at No. 3 in the England batting order for this week’s second Ashes Test in Adelaide, batting coach Graham Gooch said on Monday.
Trott returned to England with a stress-related illness after his team lost the opening Test in Brisbane by a humbling 381 runs and his spot in the batting line-up has been the subject of much conjecture.
Bell, playing in the middle order, was widely regarded as the difference between the two sides in England’s 3-0 win at home in the first Ashes series of the year, when he scored three centuries.
Root opened the batting with his captain Alastair Cook against Australia in England before dropping down to No. 6 for the Gabba Test, where he scored two and a determined 26 not out in his two innings.
“Whoever moves up to No. 3, and it’s probably fair to say that Joe Root and Ian Bell are the two candidates, I’m sure they’ll stand up for England, that’s what they’ve got to do,” Gooch told reporters at the Adelaide Oval.
“I’m not a believer (that) you’ve got to be very careful about looking after people in what number they bat. If you’re asked to bat three, four, five or six, whatever, you have to do that job.”
Gooch felt what was more important was that England’s batsmen put on more runs in Adelaide after being dismissed for 136 and 179 in their two innings in Brisbane.
“There is character in the team, there is skill in the team, obviously we’ve got show better will than we did in the last game,” the former England skipper added. “To get dismissed twice for under 200 is very disappointing and you’re not going to win any games of cricket if you do that.
“We know that we didn’t perform anywhere close to our potential that is required and what this team is capable of, and we’ve got to work hard to put that right.”
Mitchell Johnson played a key role in Australia’s victory in Brisbane with nine wickets at the Gabba but Gooch said it would be wrong just to focus on the mercurial left-arm quick.
“He inconvenienced a few of our players (but) it would be a mistake, if you asked me, to just focus on one bowler,” he said.
“They have four other very good Test bowlers... so we have to be aware of all of them. Mitchell Johnson will be part of that and short bowling will be part of that ...”
Gooch brushed off the row over sledging in the first Test, saying there was nothing new in the opposition trying to intimidate batsman and it was part and parcel of the game.
“Some people it motivates, makes them play better, more determined,” said the former batsman, who played 118 Tests for England between 1975 and 1995.
“Some people it can unsettle. But generally sledging is about getting you to play the man and not the ball, get your focus off the ball.
“Players I’ve seen who have dealt with it best either smile at the opposition or take it as a compliment. Generally if you get sledged, you’re doing okay.”