Bell to move up the order?
England coach Andy Flower admitted on Monday he was considering promoting in-form Ian Bell up the batting order in the crunch fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.cricket Updated: Dec 21, 2010 01:13 IST
England coach Andy Flower admitted on Monday he was considering promoting in-form Ian Bell up the batting order in the crunch fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne.
The diminutive right-hander has batted at six in the series and looked in excellent touch, even in the 267-run defeat in the third Test at the WACA Ground, with 213 runs at 71.
Bell was sidelined by a foot injury prior to the Ashes and has bided his time at six since returning, but he said during the third Test he would love to be promoted back up the order.
With veteran Paul Collingwood struggling (62 runs at 15.50) at five and England boasting a long tail, there is a broad perception that Bell's talents are not being fully utilised.
Flower said there was an obvious temptation to promote Bell after the Perth loss.
"We are always looking at ways to improve our side," Flower said. "Ian Bell looks in very good form and he's very confident, he's played beautifully through this tour.
"Jiggling with batting orders and personnel is always an option, but you have to be careful about altering a side that has been very successful over the last 18 months.
"Of course, those options are always open."
Flower backed spinner Graeme Swann to bounce back at the MCG after having little influence in Perth, the lively nature of the pitch meaning he bowled just 25 overs and claimed only two wickets.
"There wasn't much turn there for him, so it was a difficult task," Flower said. "That affected the whole momentum of the game, but I don't blame him for that, it was a tough ask.
"Melbourne is a whole different set of conditions."
Flower also dismissed concerns about the heavy workload for young fast bowler Steve Finn, who has the most wickets for the series for either side (14), but has also gone for more than four runs per over.
"Steven Finn has done really well, for a 21-year-old to come into an Ashes series in Australia, he has handled himself superbly," he said.
"He has taken a lot of wickets in the three Test matches. We expect a lot of these young men to come in and shoulder this responsibility and I think he has done it really well."
Flower also said the English were keen to capitalise on Australia's fragile top order, with Phil Hughes, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Steven Smith all struggling for form with the bat.