‘Root, not Bell, should be batting at three’

England

While England have made a change to their top order for the third Ashes Test in Birmingham, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum has joined the group of experts saying Joe Root should be batting at first drop.

England jettisoned Gary Ballance after two poor Tests, and called up Jonny Bairstow to the middle order. As such, Ian Bell will bat at three instead of four, and Root will move to four. But McCullum, and others, feel Root is best at three.

McCullum wrote in the Daily Mail: "I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: England need Joe Root to move up to number three.

"At the moment he's walking to the wicket in a crisis each time.

"Move him up to three and he has a chance to impose himself on proceedings. It means he's not always fire-fighting and can shape an innings.

"(Australia number three Steve) Smith laid the foundations for Australia's win. Root needs to be given a chance to do the same for England."

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was of the same opinion, saying on Sky Sports of Root: "He was a county opening batsman when he was picked for England.

"He would have a technique that would stand up to No.3 in international cricket."

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