With England looking to get one win on the board from the Ashes, the team coach Trevor Bayliss has hinted at giving Test debut to 20-year-old Mason Crane. England currently trail the Ashes 0-3 and are looking for a consolation win going into the fifth Test at Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The series was lost after the third Test in Perth. The fourth Test, though, was drawn at MCG after a flat pitch was prepared. The draw ensured England won’t suffer a third 5-0 whitewash out of four on trips to Australia.
Crane’s maiden Test appearance is not entirely dependant on dropping badly out-of-form Moeen Ali, but that seems the most likely scenario. Incidentally, Crane was called-up by New South Wales for the Sheffield Shield at Sydney last winter in a grade cricket tour in Australia last winter.
“There’s maybe no time like the present to find out,” Bayliss said when queried whether Crane was ready for Test cricket. “We think he’s a guy that has got the goods, and the more he plays at this level the better he will get. You’ve got to start somewhere.”
Ali’s presence for the fifth Test remains questionable after a tour to forget. In the four Tests in the Ashes, he has picked only three wickets at the cost of 135 runs each in four Tests so far and with the bat, he’s accumulated only 136 runs at an average of 20 runs per inning. His horror show has earned criticism from former England players Michael Vaughan and Graeme Swann. However, Bayliss defended the off-spinner while also admitting that the series has been a low for Moeen. “At the moment, the number of runs and wickets makes (this series) one of his lows,” said the coach. “But just a couple of months ago, we were singing his praises as one of the best allrounders in the world.”
In sharp comparison, Australia spinner Nathan Lyon has picked up 17 wickets in the series including the wicket of Ali on each instance. But Bayliss said it was difficult to compare the two. “He’s (Moeen) different to Lyon, who gets over-spin,” he said. “Mo doesn’t, and things don’t happen as quickly without the bounce that Lyon gets. Mo is a free spirit, and one or two shots or wickets and he will be off and running. So I’m not concerned long term.”