Trevor Bayliss drops hints on who England will select at the top of the order in Tests

By Adam Ellis

England head coach Trevor Bayliss has said in-form county stars Rory Burns and Joe Denly will get a ‘fair hearing’ when it comes to selecting England’s squad to tour Sri Lanka in the winter.

Despite finishing a home summer with a 4-1 series victory over the number one ranked Test nation India, Bayliss has conceded incumbent opener Keaton Jennings faces a ‘nervous’ wait when selectors and coaching staff meet next week to iron out plans for the two-Test tour to Sri Lanka.

On Jennings, Bayliss commented: “I’m sure he will be a bit nervous about which way it will go. His history – he scored runs in India on spinning wickets – I’m sure that will be in his favour.

“He is a big boy and knows runs on the board count as well. All those points will have to be discussed, and I can’t say at this stage whether he will go or not.”

Surrey captain Burns pressed his claim for one of the spots opening the bat with a century against Worcestershire, which puts the County Championship leaders on pace to claim a first title since 2002.

He is in the frame to either replace Jennings or fill the void left by the retired Alastair Cook, and is joined in the picture by Kent vice-captain Joe Denly.

Uncapped at Tests, Denly has played for England’s limited overs sides in the past and has enjoyed one of his best seasons for promotion-chasing Kent. The 32-year-old averages 36.57 over 21 innings and has scored three half-centuries and three hundreds.

England’s hokey cokey man James Vince was another name put to Bayliss as England’s batting order options at no.3 appear ambiguous after Joe Root’s move back to his usual place at no.4.

Despite showing flashes of his stylish brilliance on the county circuit for the national side, Vince averages 24.90 over 13 Tests in an international career prone to the impatience of selectors.

With Moeen Ali moving up the order for the Test at the Oval, Bayliss was asked whether another recall for the Hampshire captain could be in the works.

“Possibly, in Sri Lanka. Take Joe (Root) out of the equation, he has probably been our best number three over the last few years.

“I gave him the challenge, when we dropped him, to go back and score plenty of runs. Averaging 40 in county cricket is not good enough.

“You have got to average 50 or 60 – and take out this last game, he was close to that and made some big hundreds. So he has done what we asked of him – whether he makes the cut or not we will find out in a week.”

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