Vaughan concerned about Ballance against Proteas

Former England captain Michael Vaughan has expressed concern about the selection of Gary Ballance to bat at number three in the first Test against South Africa starting at Lord’s on Thursday.

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Ballance has been recalled to the England Test team for the third time in his career having earned his place in the squad through sheer weight of runs for Yorkshire in the County Championship this season.

The left-hander has so far struck 815 runs at the remarkable average of 101.87 in eight matches in the four-day competition this year.

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However, the Zimbabwe-born Ballance has had his technical issues in international cricket before, which saw him discarded twice, and Vaughan feels the Proteas bowling attack are a different kettle of fish compared to county sides.

Writing in his column for the Telegraph, Vaughan said: “Ballance batting at three worries me.

“He is in fine confident form with a volume of runs for Yorkshire behind him but (Morne) Morkel, (Kagiso) Rabada and Vernon Philander are a different proposition.

“The last time he played for England and batted at three he had success against slower attacks. When he had to face three bowlers consistently bowling at more than 85mph (137 kph) he was found out.”

Vaughan, who scored more than 5 000 runs in 82 Tests at an average of 41, believes Morkel will be the biggest threat to Ballance at the crease.

The lanky South African pacer has a good record against left-handers (averaging 23) in the longest format of the game.

Vaughan wrote: “Morkel will be the challenge. He bowls brilliantly at left-handers and England will have three in the top four. Has Ballance improved his method of transferring his weight forward when the ball is full?

“South Africa will push him back with the short ball, can he then get weight transferred back into the ball when they go full.”

The Lord’s Test is the first of a four-match series between England and the Proteas.