Graham Gooch has revealed that Joe Root and Ian Bell are the batsmen in contention to fill the number-three vacancy created by Jonathan Trott leaving the Ashes tour.
A week after Trott returned home with a stress-related illness, England must decide who will bat in his place at the Adelaide Oval in the second Test that starts on Wednesday night.
Root and Bell respectively batted at six and five in Australia’s 381-run opening win at Brisbane, and one of them will leapfrog number four Kevin Pietersen according to batting coach Gooch.
“Whoever moves up to number three, and it’s probably fair to say 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,” he said.
“I’m not a believer in you’ve got to be very careful looking after people, what number they bat. If you’re asked to bat at three, you’re asked to bat at four, five, six whatever, you have to do that job.”
Left-armer Mitchell Johnson was man of the match at the Gabba, in part for his nine wickets as he discomforted England with searing pace.
While the tourists anticipate another barrage, Gooch stressed the importance of preparing for all of Australia’s likely bowling line-up.
“Since we’ve been here we’ve prepared for left-arm as we did three years ago by bringing left-arm bowlers in for our practice and generally focussing on that line of attack,” he added.
“He inconvenienced a few of our players. It would be a mistake, if you ask me, to just focus on one bowler. They have four other very good Test bowlers in (Nathan) Lyon, (Peter) Siddle, (Ryan) Harris, (Shane) Watson if he bowls.
“So we have to be aware of all of them. Mitchell Johnson will be part of that and obviously short bowling will be part of that, but it’s a mistake just to focus on one person.”
Gooch is confident England can bounce back from their first loss in eight Ashes Tests, in much the same way they turned a 1-0 deficit round to beat India a year ago.
“I think it’s the first time Australia beat England for quite a few Test matches,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of success over the last few years. We lost the first Test in Ahmedabad a year ago. So there is character in the team; there is skill in the team; obviously we’ve got to show better will than we did in the last game.
“To get dismissed twice for under 200 is very disappointing; you’re not going to win any games of cricket if you’re going to do that. We know that we didn’t perform anywhere near the standard that is required and this team is capable of. We’ve got to work hard to put that right.”