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Andrew Strauss
Cricket Expert & Columnist

The Ashes: Jonny Bairstow needs breakthrough innings at the Oval

Atherton & Strauss preview 5th test

England's Jonny Bairstow needs a breakthrough innings in the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval to make the number six position his own, says Andrew Strauss.

"It's early days for Bairstow but he just needs that one breakthrough innings."

Andrew Strauss

Bairstow, 23, has scored 203 runs at an average of 29 against Australia so far this summer and has yet to register a century in his 20-Test career to date, although he did make 95 against South Africa at Lord's in 2012.

Strauss was pleased that the Yorkshireman showed some positive intent as he smote 28 during the second innings of England's 74-run victory over the tourists in the fourth Test at Durham and while he isn't expecting the selectors to ring the changes for the final match of the series when they name their squad on Saturday, he says the jury is still out on Bairstow.

"I suppose Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow haven't quite got the runs that they would have liked in the series but England are 3-0 up in the series," said the former England captain.

"They are a settled and successful side and I'm sure that Andy Flower will want to give those guys one more opportunity to make a really meaningful contribution. We've seen one from Root so far [180 at Lord's] but Bairstow needs to make a meaningful score, just to nail down that number six spot.

"Bairstow went after Nathan Lyon straight away [in England's second innings] and I think that's the way he has to play at number six; that's one of the reasons that he was picked in the side in the first place - to play aggressively. We probably haven't seen enough of that so far.

"It's early days for Bairstow but he just needs that one breakthrough innings; once he's done it I think he'll relax into the role and he's going to get another opportunity at the Oval to do that."

Rested

Broad inspires England to victory

England's bowlers earned themselves an extra day off by bowling Australia out on day four of the fourth Test as Stuart Broad returned 6-50 to finish with match figures of 11-121.

Seamer Tim Bresnan retained his place ahead of Surrey's Chris Tremlett and Durham's Graham Onions at the Emirates Durham ICG and with Onions now ruled out of the series with a broken finger, England's selectors would appear to have a straight choice to make.

While Strauss believes that Tremlett is "a potential starter" on his home ground if the pitch offers pace and bounce, he hasn't entirely ruled out the possibility of bringing in a second spinner should the surface turn as it did in 2009 - although Monty Panesar would appear to be out of the running after being fined for urinating in public.

"I think they might consider giving James Anderson a break because Chris Tremlett will be a very potent force at the Oval given the bounce there; it is tailor-made for someone like him," said Strauss.

Flower hails Cook's captaincy

"Given that Tim Bresnan bowled quite well they might think that if Anderson is not quite 100 per cent fit then maybe he's the guy to be rested, rather than dropped.

"I think that first Test match took a huge amount out of him - he bowled a lot of overs. Fatigue is one of these things which builds and builds and builds until you just can't do it and when you get to that stage you need to have a rest."

"If England want a second spinner then Simon Kerrigan is the guy that stands out - I think he's had a good season - and he offers left-arm spin variety.

"But I suppose England would prefer to have Monty in a good frame of mind and bowling well and that isn't the case this summer."

For more fourth Test reaction from Shane Warne, Nasser Hussain and the Ashes Panel simply click here. Watch the fifth and final Ashes Test on Sky Sports Ashes from 10am on Wednesday 21st August and on the Ashes Events Centre, available via the Sky Sports App.

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