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Kevin Pietersen backs Jonny Bairstow to bat at 5

KP delivered an assessment of England's batting in the Ashes, but mentioned both sides have "big holes" in the bowler-dominated series

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Kevin Pietersen has delivered an assessment of England’s batting in the Ashes but mentioned both sides have “big holes” in the bowler-dominated series. Pietersen said that he was left crushed by England’s collapse on the fifth day in Adelaide to hand Australia a 2-0 lead.

Though KP believes that both sides have “big holes”, Australia’s ability to convert starts into centuries and their superior bowling unit have given the home side the edge.

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“The end of day three, day four really excited me about England’s chances, and I think they lured us in big time. But that collapse …” Pietersen told cricket.com.au. “It’s just frustrating … they actually played really well for 24, 48 hours. But then the pressure came, it was second ball snick, Woakes, 10th ball Root, dead and buried,” he added.

The South Africa-born cricketer was among those who have called for England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow to move up the order. The move of Bairstow coming to bat at 7 or 8 is being looked down upon by former players as well as Pietersen. There have been questions about why England suddenly said that Moeen Ali is a No. 6 when he’s dangerous at seven.

“Bairstow (is) too low, he could move right up to five. He’s probably their best player at the moment,” Pietersen said. He’s a proper player. He’s wasted down there, absolutely wasted. Give him more responsibility and let him get hundreds. I’m not sure about Moeen Ali, I don’t know what’s happening there. They should put Bairstow up.”

“I’m not convinced of (No.3 batter James) Vince. (Dawid) Malan hasn’t convinced me either. (Alastair) Cook’s having an absolute shocker. There’s a lot of gaps – there’s not enough players on tour to replace all of them.”

Does England still have a chance?

On England’s chances in the Ashes, Pietersen said the recent trend of the WACA Ground to be a batsman’s paradise rather than the fast, bouncy venue of old offers England hope against Australia’s fast-bowling battery. The third Magellan Ashes Test gets underway at the WACA Ground on Thursday.

“Can (England) still win the Ashes? Stats-wise, yes they can. Do I think they will? I think they’re going to find it very difficult, but who knows,” Pietersen said.

“It’s horrible when you go two-nil down. Then you go to the WACA and you know you’ve got no chance, and it quickly becomes three-nil. But let’s wait and see, let’s see what the WACA wicket is like – it hasn’t been as fast as it has been in the past,” he stated.

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