Jonathan Trott's return home from the Ashes tour is bound to be disruptive to England's batting line-up, according to Sky Sports' Ashes Verdict panel.
Bob Willis, Marcus Trescothick and Jeremy Snape discussed who will replace Trott in the No 3 spot and fill the empty berth in the team that his departure with a stress-related illness will cause.
Trescothick prefers moving Bell up in the order, Willis is insistent Kevin Pietersen should bite the bullet and move up from four and Snape feels it would be good for Joe Root's development to bat there.
With no replacement seemingly going to be called up, it will be between Jonny Bairstow and the uncapped pair Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes to take the empty slot, none of which the panel are particularly convinced by.
Willis said: "Bell's record is much better down at five and six. He's clearly comfortable there as Pietersen is at four.
"Historically the best batsman batted at three. He could be in second ball of the match so he's got to have good enough technique to play against the new ball. If he goes in at 170-1 he can completely destroy a flagging attack - that was the old theory.
"Who's England's best player? Kevin Pietersen. But he won't have any truck with batting at three. I don't know why, but he doesn't. Bell has been up and down the order and is comfortable at five so it's going to be disruptive whatever way they go.
"Despite Jonathan's illness we were talking in the last 48 hours about him possibly being dropped because he couldn't face the fast bowlers. It's a difficult one. Bell is probably the best-equipped and I think that's the way they would go as it wouldn't be fair on Root to move him up and down the order.
"Then you have to look further down the order. If Bell goes up to three you will have the real junior ranks at five and six with (Matt) Prior, who isn't in any kind of form, to usher them along."
Trescothick added: "I like Ian Bell. His stats haven't been great in recent years when he has done it but I think he is more mature and a better player now."
And Snape said: "Root has that exuberance of youth and he looks like he is enjoying everything that's thrown at him. Maybe we have to look longer-term rather than just patching something up for a few games. Why not give him a go?"
Trescothick feels England should be making a call to his Somerset team-mate Nick Compton, who has plenty of experience batting at three and is the kind of character who would not be overwhelmed by an Ashes atmosphere.
"He's an obvious candidate to be shipped out isn't he," Trescothick added. "It almost highlights that Compton and James Taylor should have been sent out with the EPP or the Lions, or allocated into that part of the world to get some practice."
The position is just as confused between Bairstow, who played in the home Ashes series, and the two untried youngsters Ballance and Stokes, the latter possibly getting the nod because of his bowling ability.
But Trescothick wonders why Bairstow in particular was not given much of a chance during the warm-up games, feeling he may be a lot more under cooked than the rest of the England team were accused of being at the Gabba.
He said: "When you look back at the start of the warm-up games he didn't get a go. He's the next batsman in and should be the man if they want a pure batter at No 6.
"He can step up. He had his problem against the West Indies so credit to him."
Willis said: "He has shown you can alter your technique against quick bowling as he looked embarrassing against the West Indies when he first played. He's worked on his technique and he's worked it out possibly better than Trott.
"It was an ideal situation at the Oval to play him on a flat pitch when we threw in Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan. That would have done his confidence a world of good.
"Ben Stokes is an extremely talented cricketer but whether he is ready for this job at hand I am not sure. He has plenty of character about him and we all hope he has learned from his mistakes of being sent home from the Lions tour.
"The balance of the rest of the side depends on Stokes selection. Do they require another bowler? Is Bresnan going to be fit? If they want a quicker bowler, like Finn or Rankin, having the ability to bring Stokes in would bring some balance to the attack. But I think his selection is unlikely.
"I think England will go with Bairstow but I would go with Stokes."