Jonny Bairstow to bat at six as England aim to avoid Ashes defeat

ECB chief issues warning to players over their off-field behaviour in Australia

Jonny Bairstow England cricket Ashes Australia
England’s Jonny Bairstow prepares for training ahead of the Perth Ashes Test match 
(Image credit: Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)

England have selected an unchanged side for the third Ashes Test in Perth, but Jonny Bairstow will bat further up the order at six and Moeen Ali has moved to seven.

Joe Root’s side are 2-0 down to Australia in the Ashes series and need to avoid defeat in the Perth Test starting tomorrow at 2.30am UK time.

Craig Overton retains his spot for the match at the Waca – a ground where England have not won since 1978.

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While the tourists are looking to improve their performances on the pitch, it’s their off-field issues that continue to make the headlines down under.

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Following the Ben Stokes saga, Bairstow’s “headbutt” and Ben Duckett pouring beer over James Anderson, The Times reports that the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has emailed the squad to “remind them of their off-field responsibilities”.

Tom Harrison’s email told players that the “late-night indiscretions were unacceptable”, adds the paper.

England coach Trevor Bayliss has also warned that if off-field standards don’t improve, players risk being dropped. The Daily Telegraph understands that Bayliss met with the team to make it clear that “careers are at stake”.

Skipper Root believes England needs to move on and focus on getting a result in Perth.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “We’ve spoken a lot about it. Trevor Bayliss has expressed his feelings and it’s about moving on now. We have a responsibility as players to make sure the talk is about the good cricket played by England.

“I knew [captaining in Australia] would be challenging. And I knew there would be stuff around the cricket, but not to this extent if I’m brutally honest.”

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Meanwhile, Australia captain Steve Smith says England’s Ashes hopes could be over with two poor session in Perth. If Australia win the third Test, they will regain the title and look to secure a 5-0 whitewash.

“They are only a couple of bad sessions away from the series going away from them,” Smith told The Guardian. “It would be nice to get those couple of sessions out of the way in the first few days here.

"I wouldn’t say we have played our best just yet, we have shown glimpses.

“It’s 2-0 at the moment so [the whitewash] is still on. There’s no reason why not. We will have to play some good cricket, no doubt England will come back hard. But if we can win, it would take the wind out of their sails a little bit, knowing the series is dead and buried.”

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