Dan Lawrence facing fight to keep England spot

Daniel Lawrence in batting action for Essex during Nottinghamshire CCC vs Essex CCC, Specsavers Coun

Daniel Lawrence in batting action for Essex during Nottinghamshire CCC vs Essex CC, Specsavers County Championship Division 1 Cricket at Trent Bridge - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence faces a fight to hold onto his England place for the third Test in India next week. 

The 23-year-old scored nine and 26 as England slumped to a 317-run defeat on a difficult wicket in Chennai. 

And having scored only 18 runs in their 227-run win in the first Test, his place is under threat for the day-night match in Ahmenabad which starts on Wednesday (February 24). 

Asked on the Test Match Special podcast if he thought Lawrence would step away from the side, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “You’d think so. Jonny Bairstow is back having played well in Sri Lanka, he now arrives and is available for the third Test, so you’d think Jonny will get a run at number three. 

“Zak Crawley is also going to be available, I believe, so they may look at Zak for Rory Burns at the top of the order. We’ll have to wait and see, there are options.  

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“Ollie Pope is at number six, he needs some runs. He keeps playing nicely, he’s busy. I was surprised Ollie Pope didn’t get moved to number three. He’s talked about being this ‘next best’ if you like. The word on the England street is he could be the next Joe Root. That’s the message from inside the England camp, but if he’s that good why is he always hidden at number six? 

“You want to get in as soon as you can. It’s the best time to bat, in that top three or four. Why won’t they have seen him as a number three in this series and leave Dan Lawrence down at number six? 

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“The problem that England have, and when you play so many players, you swap and change so much, you almost get more headaches. You get more players to discuss. You get a bit confused about who should be playing, you end up swapping and changing so much." 

Lawrence enjoyed a fine Test debut in Sri Lanka, scoring 73 and 21 not out when batting at number five in a seven-wicket win, but then added only five more runs in his second match in Galle. 

His tally of 53 runs in four subsequent innings in India leaves him behind captain Joe Root (297), Dominic Sibley (122), Ben Stokes (115), Ollie Pope (96) and Rory Burns (58) with an overall average of 21.71 to date. 

Essex teammate Sir Alastair Cook added: “You’d say Jonny Bairstow comes back. He didn’t set the world alight in Sri Lanka but played nicely and you'd want that experience, the guy who has played a lot in India, in terms of the IPL as well as Test match cricket and one-day cricket and has been around the block. 

“It’s interesting what they do with Zak Crawley. They like the way he has started his career and I think from the reports his wrist is getting better. Does he come in? 

“There’s a lot things for England to think about whereas a week ago there wasn’t a huge amount. A week ago everything was perfect, a week later, everything’s not perfect. You’ve got to be really careful there’s not a knee-jerk reaction. You’re probably not as bad as you think you are and not as good, you’re always somewhere in that middle area.” 

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