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Ashes 2013-14: England consider who should bat at No 3 in Adelaide

Joe Root: Candidate to bat at No 3 in Adelaide

England will begin the process of identifying a new No 3 batsman when they return from a short trip to Uluru this week.

The squad flew into Alice Springs, and took a connecting flight out to the sacred site - formerly known as Ayers Rock.

They return to Alice Springs on Wednesday to prepare for a two-day match with a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI.

The current thinking is that England will move either Joe Root or Ian Bell up to No 3 to replace Jonathan Trott, who has flown home from the tour because of a stress-related illness.

That would create a middle-order vacancy with Yorkshire duo Jonny Bairstow, and Gary Ballance and Durham's Ben Stokes all vying to come in.

England coach Andy Flower said: "Moving around the order might not be ideal. But then the Trott incident, we could not foresee that.

"Root played superbly towards the end of that (first) Test - he showed what a good, young, mature man he is and a very fine player. So he would be capable of doing that. We haven't made that decision yet."

Bairstow has had chances in the Test team before before without really taking them, and Stokes and Ballance are uncapped.

Supporters

Stokes has his supporters as he would also be able to bowl, whilst England are known to have high hopes for Yorkshire batsman Ballance, a left-hander who is particularly strong off his back-foot which would be an asset against Australia's attack.

"Root played superbly towards the end of that (first) Test - he showed what a good, young, mature man he is and a very fine player. So he would be capable of doing that. We haven't made that decision yet."

Andy Flower

Geoff Cook, Durham's Director of Cricket, told Sky Sports News: "Those two (Stokes and Balance) are obviously very inexperienced at international level. They are both very talented players. I think whether Stokes plays or not will depend very much on what they think of the balance of the team. He's there as an all-rounder.

"Having known Ben since he was 15, I don't think fear comes into his mind. He's got a burning ambition to play at the highest level.

"If they are looking to change the balance of the team on a different surface then obviously he'll be the guy to come into contention, but I'm sure that they're both really competitive and they will both do their upmost to grasp and add to the performance of the England team if given the opportunity."

Tim Bresnan is also set to play for the England Performance Programme team in a three-day match against a Queensland XI in Brisbane - starting on Wednesday - to try to prove his fitness ahead of the second Test in Adelaide.

The Yorkshireman has not bowled in a competitive match since the third Ashes Test in England.

But if he proves his fitness he could well come straight into the line-up at the expense of Chris Tremlett at Adelaide.

The second Test in Adelaide will be shown live on Sky Sports 2 HD from December 5.