LONDON • England's selectors have reacted to the 405-run defeat by Australia in the second Ashes cricket Test at Lord's by dropping the No. 3 batsman Gary Ballance and calling up his in-form Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow.
Bairstow, who has scored five centuries in the County Championship for the defending champions this summer and averages 100.66 in first-class cricket, is part of a 13-man squad for the third Test at Edgbaston starting next Wednesday that sees Steven Finn retained as the reserve fast bowler.
Wicket-keeper Bairstow, 25, will play as a specialist batsman at No. 5 in the order, with Ian Bell and Joe Root moving up as coach Trevor Bayliss and his fellow selectors hope to remedy a long-standing problem that has seen England three down for 52 runs or fewer in seven of their last eight Tests.
Ballance, who averaged only 17.5 runs in his last 10 Test innings and has seen his technique heavily scrutinised, has paid the price for that statistic, with Bell and the opener Adam Lyth retained despite similar struggles this series.
Bell's promotion comes with no guarantees, with the 33-year-old having experienced a lean spell since starring in the 2013 summer Ashes series. The right-hander has averaged 28.48 during this time and England will hope the extra responsibility on his home ground can jolt his game back into life.
Adil Rashid remains in the squad despite withdrawing from the Lord's Test because of a finger injury, with Bayliss insisting after the defeat at Lord's he still intends to play two spinners at some stage in the series.