Who'll fill Jonathan Trott spot?
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Ian Bell and Joe Root are the contenders to bat at No. 3 in the second Ashes Test, with England batting coach Graham Gooch saying nobody would be shielded after Jonathan Trott's sudden departure due to a stress-related illness.
"I'm not a believer in you've got to be very careful about looking after people in what number they bat,'' Gooch told a news conference Monday. "If you're asked to bat three, four, five or six, you have to do that job. I'm sure both of them will want that challenge if they're asked.''
England was dismissed for 136 and 179 in a humbling 381-run loss in the first Test, where Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson used the extra bounce at the Gabba to unsettle the touring batsmen with some fiery short-pitched bowling.
Root defied the Australian attack in the second innings, finishing unbeaten on 26 in an England stand that included breaks for hail and rain and some thunderbolts of bouncers from Johnson. Trott, who had two batting failures in Brisbane, quit the tour to return to England in the immediate aftermath of the first test, leaving England 10 days to determine who would move up the order to fill the crucial No. 3 position.
Moving Root, who has played as an opener and most of the top-order positions in his brief, 12-Test career, would be the least disruptive option because Bell is a proven scorer at No. 5. "Whoever moves up to No. 3, and it's probably fair to say Joe Root and Ian Bell are the two candidates, I'm sure they'll stand up for England,'' Gooch said. "That's what they've got to do.''
The 31-year-old Bell has batted at No. 5 in 62 of his 94 Tests and scored 16 of his 20 Test centuries from that position. He has scored two centuries batting at No. 3 in 21 Tests. His only Tests against Australia batting at No. 3 where on the 2006-07 tour when England was swept 5-0.