Friday, October 9th, 2015

Moeen Has “nose In Front” In Battle To Open In First Test

Moeen Has “nose In Front” In Battle To Open In First Test

England head coach Trevor Bayliss says Moeen Ali has "his nose in front" in the battle to open in the first Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi starting on October 13.

The Worcestershire all-rounder only made seven and 12 when batting twice on the second day of the drawn match with Pakistan 'A' in Sharjah.

But the 28-year-old looks set to move up from the number eight role occupied in the Ashes to alongside skipper Alastair Cook.

Bayliss admitted Moeen's promotion will help with "the make-up of the team."

Bayliss said: "I think at this stage Mo has probably got his nose in front. Alastair (Cook) and I will sit down over the next day or so to discuss it and come up with the eleven so everyone knows what it is probably by the first practice session (on Sunday).

"It's probably not ideal. Obviously we've got Alex Hales here who we know can be an explosive batter.

"But I think Mo has shown that he's a good player against spin and he can play the pace bowling and he's handled the pressure during that Ashes series.

"If he is batting in the top six it does give us opportunities further down the line with the make-up of the team."

Moeen has played alongside Cook in ODI cricket but is set to become his seventh opening partner in Test cricket since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.

Bayliss said: "I wouldn't necessarily say it was a problem position because Mo is a good enough player that he could actually be the answer.

"He could turn himself into that opening batter. My advice to him if he gets the nod is to go out and play his natural game.

"I think it will be very important to get decent starts over here against the new ball. The older the ball gets and the lower the wickets get, the harder it gets to score runs.

"We'll be looking to get off to a good start and if Mo can play his natural game that gives us the ability to get off to those good starts."