England are giving serious thought to playing two spinners in the fourth Test against Pakistan at The Oval by handing a home debut to leg-break bowler Adil Rashid.
The hosts went 2-1 up with one to play in the series after coming from behind to win the third Test by 141 runs at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Rashid has been in and around the England squad all season, but is still waiting to play on home soil after making all his three career Test appearances against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year.
But, with England set to tour Bangladesh and India—where pitches often provide plenty of turn for slow bowlers—later this year, Rashid could be called up at The Oval in south London as a second spinner alongside Moeen Ali.
During last year’s Ashes, Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon took four wickets in his side’s consolation win at The Oval.
Asked if England were tempted to pick Rashid for the fourth Test, which starts tomorrow, Bayliss replied: “Very. We saw last year at The Oval, the wicket had a bit in it for everyone. Lyon bowled very well there, got some spin and bounce.”
Rashid took seven for 61 in champions Yorkshire’s County Championship win over Warwickshire last week, after being released from England’s squad.
Bayliss added: “I’ve thought Rashid’s been a chance for the last two or three Tests that we’ve played. At some stage, he will get an opportunity.”
Ali made his name as a top-order batsman before being handed the position of England frontline off-spinner following the retirement of Graeme Swann.
It is not always a role that has suited Ali, but at Edgbaston—where he was named man-of-the-match after scoring two fifties—he played his part with the ball as Pakistan were dismissed for 201 on Sunday.
“Quite simply, the difference with his bowling in that spell was his discipline of length,” said Bayliss.
“We’ve all seen him before probably falling a little bit short, but I thought that spell he got it pretty much spot on, bowled a little bit wider of the off stump into the rough, coming into the stumps and putting the pressure on the batter.
“It’s a bit harder (then) to run down the wicket and hit over the top and play reverse-sweeps and sweeps. I thought he put the pressure on very well there,” the Australian added.
The match also saw James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, return to the top of the International Cricket Council’s Test bowler rankings.
But the Lancashire paceman fell foul of the umpires in Pakistan’s first innings when he was taken out of the attack for running on the pitch—the second time this has happened to Anderson in 2016.
Before that, he had lost his temper with both Joel Wilson and Bruce Oxenford, the two on-field umpires, when he was initially warned about straying into the ‘danger area’ and Anderson later apologised for what he admitted was “unacceptable behaviour”.
Anderson escaped any punishment from match referee Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain, and Bayliss was happy with the way Anderson dealt with the fall-out. “I think he did sort it out himself,” Bayliss said. “In the heat of the moment... he is a competitor, and I think you need guys in your team like that.
“If he slightly touched the line or went over the line, we fixed it up pretty quickly — and everything was sweet with the umpires. He’s been around enough now to know when he has maybe transgressed a little too far, and to pull his head in pretty quick.”
Pakistan recall Gul for Ireland, England ODIs
Pakistan yesterday recalled paceman Umar Gul after a 15-month lay-off in the squad for the two one-day internationals in Ireland and five in England starting later this month. The 32-year-old last played a one-day match in Dhaka against Bangladesh in April 2015 before being discarded over his lack of form and fitness. He has 173 one-day wickets from 126 matches in a storied career, marred by recent injury problems.
Azhar Ali will lead the side which has uncapped 22-year-old allrounder Hasan Ali, but there was no place for opener Ahmed Shehzad and middle-order batsman Umar Akmal. Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan last week said both players were axed from the initial squad of 31 because of discipline issues. Umar has not played for Pakistan since the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand.
Pakistan also face England in the only Twenty20 international at Old Trafford on September 7, the squad for which will be named at a later date.
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