Cricket

Michael Clarke eager to test Jonny Bairstow

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Australia captain Michael Clarke has warned returning England batsman Jonny Bairstow that his recent exploits in county cricket may not have prepared him for the Ashes.

Bairstow will bat at number five in the third Investec Test at Edgbaston having been recalled to replace Yorkshire team-mate Gary Ballance, bringing with him a scintilating run of form.

He averages 108.88 from his 12 innings this season, but must prove he can transfer that dominance to the big stage and overcome a Test mark of 26.95.

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His previous Test innings was a duck in Sydney at the end of the 2013-14 whitewash and the Baggy Greens skipper is confident a pace trio of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will present a much sterner test than anything else Bairstow has seen this season.

"He'll be full of confidence but I would hope the attack he's about to face is a little bit different to what he's faced in county cricket," said Clarke.

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"In saying that, he comes in with form under his belt and you can only score runs against who you're playing.

"He's an attacking player, likes to play his shots and he's performed well in county cricket this year."

"I think he's a really good player, hence him getting another opportunity to play for England.

"We've looked at footage in the lead-up to this Test match, we know what we have to bowl and we need the discipline to put the ball there consistently."

Bairstow is not the only England batsman under the microscope in Birmingham, with Ian Bell and Adam Lyth both with questions to answer.

The pair are at the opposite ends of the spectrum - Bell looking to prove he is not approaching the end of a 10-year, 112-Test journey and Lyth facing pressure four matches into his international career.

Clarke, who saw Bell take man-of-the-series honours in the 2013 Ashes, played down suggestions that the 33-year-old was fighting for his future having been shunted up the order to replace Ballance at number three but hinted that Lyth may struggle more with the situation.

"Belly's been a class player for a long period of time, he's played a lot of cricket, so I don't think it will bother him too much moving up to number three, he's also playing on his home ground," he said.

"Whether he makes runs in this series I'm sure it's not the end of a career. He has shown his class, scored a lot of Test hundreds and he has played a lot of cricket.

"After this series I would like to see him go on and make plenty more hundreds. In this series I would love to be able to keep his runs to a minimum.

"Lyth might feel a little bit more pressure because obviously he hasn't played as much Test cricket as someone like Belly."

Australia have confirmed Peter Nevill will retain the gloves having deputised impressively for Brad Haddin at Lord's.

Nevill pouched seven catches and 45 entertaining runs on debut and is inked in to continue even though the vastly experienced Haddin is available once again, having withdrawn due to personal reasons.

"Hadds is keen to continue to play cricket for Australia and New South Wales," said Clarke.

"He will see his role now as staying well prepared and helping Nev. He has played in these conditions and toured England a lot so his experience can really help Peter Nevill."

A final decision is also imminent on Chris Rogers, who batted on Monday and Tuesday after being diagnosed with an inner ear balance problem stemming from a James Anderson bouncer to the helmet.

If he shows no ill-effects from the latter session, his understudy Shaun Marsh will once again perform 12th man duties.

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Topics:
Michael Clarke
Jonny Bairstow
Australia cricket
England cricket
The Ashes
Cricket

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