Monday, June 17, 2024

Ashes 2023: McCullum backs Moeen Ali,Jonny Bairstow to come good in second Test in Lord’s

England are going to continue showing confidence in recalled-spinner Moeen Ali and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who is returning from an injury, in the second Test set to start at the Lord’s here on June 28, head coach Brendon McCullum has said.

England lost the opening Test by two wickets at Birmingham with Moeen and Bairstow struggling to come to terms with the Australians.

Moeen Ali, who came out of red-ball retirement after regular spinner Jack Leach got injured, managed 2-147 off 33 overs in Australia’s first innings score of 386 and then conceded 1-57 runs in 14 overs during the second as the visitors scampered to a two-wicket win at Edgbaston.

Bairstow, who got injured in a freak injury in a golf incident, scored a run-a-ball 78 in the first innings and then just 20 in England’s second innings. However, what mattered more is that he missed a few chances as a wicketkeeper that cost England a bit.

Bairstow was guilty of not going for Usman Khawaja’s catch in James Anderson’s over in the 2nd innings. He lso dropped Alex Carey twice and missed a stumping against Cameron Green.

However, McCullum has endorsed both players for the second Test, provided they are fit to play.

The hosts are confident Moeen will be fit for Lord’s and say they will stick with the 36-year-old after his unhappy match figures of 3-204 at Edgbaston.

“I’m pretty confident that we can get on top of Moeen’s finger,” McCullum was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press (AAP), the Australian news agency.

“That will give us an opportunity to select him in the next game and, if he’s available, he will be selected. I thought Moeen did a great job. He bowled a couple of absolute ‘jaffas’ in the game and that’s what his role was, to try and make breakthroughs when he had the opportunity,” said McCullum, the former New Zealand captain who is now coaching England.

Meanwhile, McCullum also defended England’s ultra-sharp aggressive approach in the match, claiming it was the right tactic. He said England will continue with the same style/

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