England have been beaten on the first innings in their two-day tour match in Alice Springs against a Chairman’s XI.
Ian Bell is putting his hand up to bat at No.3 in Thursday’s Adelaide Test as England seek to set aside the disappointment of their poor performance in Alice Springs.
Resuming on 0-16 on day two on Saturday in reply to England’s 7-212 declared, the Chairman’s XI declared at 8-254.
England reached 1-47 in their second innings at stumps, ending the two-day game searching for positives after coming up short against a bunch of unknowns.
“I’m absolutely willing to go to number three,” said No.5 batsman Bell, who was player of the tournament with three centuries in the 2013 Ashes series in England.
“But that decision is probably out of my control.
“We’ve got a number of options with the batting and balance of the side … but I put up my hand to go up the order.”
The withdrawal of No.3 batsman Jonathan Trott following the Brisbane Test because of a stress-related illness has left a gaping hole in England’s top order, with Bell and No.6 Joe Root contenders to slot into first-drop.
Zimbabwe-born Gary Ballance, man of the match in Alice Springs for his first-innings 55, is pushing for his Test debut in Adelaide in the middle order.
Uncapped allrounder Ben Stokes, with 28 runs and bowling figures of 0-37, didn’t nail his audition but his versatility may help his cause.
Pacemen Boyd Rankin (1-52), Steven Finn (0-61) and Stokes simply failed to impress, amidst speculation seamer Chris Tremlett’s Test spot could be under scrutiny.
Test offspinner Graeme Swann has gained some confidence following his mauling at the hands of Australia’s batsmen in last week’s first Test by picking up 4-56 while Test hopeful Monty Panesar claimed 3-41.
Trailing one-nil in the Ashes series, England may be tempted to recall Panesar in a twin-spin attack for Adelaide.
“It is a possibility. We’ve got that flexibility, two spinners, that he could play,” Bell said.
Openers Marcus Harris (49) and Steve Cazzulino (48) added 78 for the Chairman’s XI before Swann and Panesar did for England what their quicks could not.
Sixteen-year-old NSW Second XI batsman Jake Doran beat his age by one run before becoming Swann’s fourth victim.
Not a single member of the 12-man Chairman’s XI side is a current Shield player.
“We managed to keep the English out there in the hot conditions today which is a small win I guess,” said tailender Josh Lalor who made 45.
“That’s probably the role we’re meant to play.
“It would have been nice if we gave them a bit more of a beating.”