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Flower ponders batting changes

Investec Test Series

Andy Flower

Andy Flower admits England's middle order is an area of concern ahead of the final npower Ashes Test at the Brit Oval

England team director Andy Flower confirmed there would be discussions about the England batting line-up after key men failed to perform in the fourth npower Ashes Test.

The hosts were dismissed for just 102 on the opening day at Headingley Carnegie and only scraped to 263 in their second innings courtesy of some defiant late hitting from Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann.

There is sure to be pressure for changes to be made ahead of the series decider at the Brit Oval and Flower admits England need to improve.

"You've got to have a think about that middle order," he said.

"We've got one Test hundred in the series so far, and Strauss has been holding the batting together a bit.

"I think they (Australia) have got seven, so that tells the story."

Ravi Bopara appears the most vulnerable of the batsmen, although Flower appears reluctant to rush into any decisions.

"I wouldn't describe him as mentally shot, no," Flower said. "He's had a hard time. He came out of the West Indies series in very good form and feeling very confident.

"He's taken some knocks in this series and that's hard for anyone to take.

"When he came in and scored those Test hundreds in a row I thought he looked good, he looked composed, he looked confident. He certainly looked talented enough.

"It was a great start and the jury was still out. I said it at the time, that the jury was still out about whether he'd make a great Test number three.

"I'm certainly not going to say he's not going to be a great Test number three.

"I think he's a fine player with a very high ceiling. He's had a hard time in this series."

Flower believes England can recover from defeat at Headingley, and still claim the urn.

"We're 1-1 in the series and we've got a chance to win the series at the Brit Oval," he said. "Let's let this poor result settle and then we'll make decisions."

Flower revealed he will not consider Andrew Flintoff for the final Test unless the team talisman can prove his fitness following his knee problems.

"He's seeing the specialist tomorrow and we'll know more after that," Flower added.

"If he's there, it's great having a class cricketer like him around. If he's not there, we've got to win it without him.

"He's got to be able to say, 'I'm okay to bowl you 15 overs a day'. He was keen to play (at Headingley) but I think he acknowledged he wasn't right to play."

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