Tim Paine is happy England has tinkered with its top order but remains wary about the threat posed by out-of-form slugger Jason Roy, whose attempt to become a Test batsman has been shambolic so far.
Australia and England have both made minor tweaks to their batting order for the fourth Ashes Test. The tourists have axed Usman Khawaja, with Marnus Labuschagne set to rise one spot as Steve Smith returns to No. 4.
Roy, having scored 57 runs from six innings as an opener this series, has been demoted to No. 4.
Joe Denly, fresh from a half-century that shored up his spot in the XI, will now open alongside Rory Burns.
Australia has made no secret of its desire to rattle England’s inexperienced top order, with Josh Hazlewood having fired the first shot prior to the start of the series by pointing out that making the leap from ODI star to Test opener would be tricky for Roy.
“I’d probably say the bowlers feel like that (England changing the order) is not a bad thing,” Paine told reporters. “They feel like they’ve done a pretty good job against him.
“They are going to try and put him (Roy) in a position they think suits his play better.
“As I said before the Edgbaston Test, we know how skillful a player he is and I think it’s probably a matter of time before he finds the right tempo to play Test cricket. When he does he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Regarding his own batting order, Australia’s captain was happy to avoid a major reshuffle in the high-stakes clash.
“Where our guys bat is where they bat … the more consistent you can be, the better,” Paine said.
Joe Root is confident the change in spots will bring out the best of Roy. “The ability to play in his manner, a little bit more freely, when it’s not doing as much might give him a better chance,” Root said.
Hazlewood, having backed up words with actions by twice dismissing Roy out of four opportunities in the series, suggested England’s rethink was a moral victory.
“Whenever the other team are changing plans, it means you’re doing something right,” Hazlewood said.
“Whoever is at the top and whatever the order, it’s the same plans … keeping it simple, patient and disciplined.”
Rob Forsaith, AAP