By Stephen Giles
- Third Ashes Test begins July 29th at Edgbaston.
- Series level at 1-1.
- Pressure on England’s top order batsman to score runs.
Ex- England opener Geoffrey Boycott has starkly reminded Ian Bell that he has to step up and deliver in the third Ashes Test against Australia on his home ground or his England career could well be over.
The 33-year-old has been promoted to third in the batting order for the match at his home ground of Edgbaston as a result of Jonny Bairstow’s inclusion into Alastair Cook’s side at the expense of the out-of-form Gary Ballance.
Bell – averaging 14.50 with the bat this summer – can count himself rather fortunate to still be within the England set-up having struggled enormously of late, and Boycott considers that his time in the team could be at an end if he continues to record low scores.
“They can’t go on with someone not getting runs. If you have played over 100 Tests, you need to take responsibility for the very difficult position of number three,”
“You need a be a bit like an opener. The way England are playing at the moment, they definitely need three openers at the top. Bell has to shoulder that responsibility and go up front. He needs to help the other guys out.
“The selectors are saying, ‘if you don’t perform at three, you are gone’.
“I love Ian Bell and his cricket, he is beautiful to watch, but if you don’t have the mind or the defensive technique against pace bowling, you are going to get out.”
Adam Lyth’s position in the team, as well as Bell’s have come under the microscope over the past week with the duo managing to score a combined 19 runs in the Second Test at Lords, as England sunk to an unequivocal battering inside four days.
Yet, England have so far refused to appear panicked by the way they collapsed under Australian pressure last week, with the only change that of Ballance, ahead of the crucial match at Edgbaston.
For a full match preview to the 3rd Investec Ashes Test in Birmingham – which begins on July 29th – stay tuned to Britwatchsports.