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Ashes 2013/14: Michael Carberry 'staring down the barrel' after SCG failure

Under-pressure opener isn't playing his natural game and may be out of chances...

Alec Stewart says Michael Carberry's Test future is looking 'pretty bleak' after the opener's latest failure.

Smith delighted with recovery

Carberry, 33, was dismissed for a nine-ball duck towards the end of day one of the fifth Ashes Test before England reached stumps on 8-1 in reply to Australia's 326.

The Hampshire batsman, who had just one cap to his name before the series, has scored 238 runs in nine innings at an average of 26.44. Stewart said that Carberry's strike-rate of 37.65 - some way below his first-class figure of 51.63 - is also concerning.

"His place was in jeopardy a little bit before the Test because of what he hadn't done during the series," said the former England captain. "The way he played wasn't how he naturally plays for Hampshire.

"Australia have got the better of him - Mitchell Johnson especially on the angle. When the ball comes at him from over the wicket from the left-hander, Carberry hasn't quite worked out a way of defending the ball.

"It was a very good catch from Nathan Lyon but Carberry is now staring down the barrel at his immediate Test future."


England's selectors made three changes for the fifth Test, bringing in Boyd Rankin, Gary Ballance and Scott Borthwick but stuck with Carberry at the expense of 23-year-old Joe Root, who over four Tests scored 46 fewer runs.

Stewart reflected: "That was a surprise for me, just because I know Root can grow in international cricket. He's a young lad and we've seen glimpses of what he is capable of doing and he'll have an international career, there's no doubt about that.

"I personally would have stuck with him and left Carberry out. The selectors may have felt 'let's give Carberry one more go and let's make an absolute clear-cut position about whether he's going to have a Test future or not'.

"He's still got a second innings in this game but at the moment it is looking pretty bleak for him."


Stokes pleased with wicket haul

In contrast, Stewart hailed the impact newcomer Ben Stokes has made on the international stage, following up his century in the third Test at Perth with his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests, taking 6-99 in Australia's first innings at the SCG.

"I just like the way he goes about his cricket," he told The Ashes Breakfast. "He's a no-nonsense cricketer. We saw him get that wonderful hundred in Perth.

"Bowling is his second string - I believe he is going to be a stronger batter than bowler in time.

"He ran in there and was rewarded with 6-99. He just looked to bowl outside off stump. Yes, he's been helped by a couple of loose shots but overall he's been the one bright spot of what has been a pretty dismal tour from an England point of view."

Catch highlights of today's play - On Demand from 6.30pm - throughout the day on SS2 before the Ashes Verdict returns at 9pm. The Ashes Extra is back at 10.30pm with Ian Ward ahead of our live coverage of day two.

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