Shane Warne has called for England to make two changes for the fourth Test against India, with all-rounder Sam Curran sitting out and opener Zak Crawley recalled.
The five-match Test series is perfectly poised at 1-1 after three matches, with England beating India by an innings and 76 runs at Headingley this week to bounce back from the recent defeat at Lord’s.
Australia legend Warne was impressed by England’s performance in Leeds – describing the bowling display as ‘relentless’ – but has suggested the hosts should make a couple of changes for the fourth Test at The Oval.
Curran – who has taken three wickets so far in the series and scored 74 runs in five innings – could make way for the fit-again Mark Wood or a specialist spinner in Jack Leech or Matthew Parkinson.
Warne also believes ‘talented’ Kent batsman Crawley, who was dropped after the series opener at Trent Bridge, should be opening for England.
‘England were just relentless [at Headingley],’ Warne told Sky Sports. ‘If they did overpitch or bowl a bit wide, they were back on it next ball and hunted in packs.
‘[James] Anderson and [Ollie] Robinson were as good as it gets – the ball was talking and they were challenging techniques. I don’t think it was bad batting.
‘Sometimes we are too quick to criticise a batting side when they fall over and in this case I think we have to say well done to England.
‘I don’t think Curran plays [in the next Test]. As the fourth seamer batting at No 8, he hasn’t scored a hundred or taken a five-for, I don’t see what he is in the team for.
‘He is a good cricketer but a bit “bits-and-pieces” for Test cricket. I would like to see something more specific, whether that’s Wood or a spinner, if it is going to turn. Maybe a Leach or a Parkinson.
‘[Dawid] Malan is an experienced player with talent but more importantly a hunger. He said he never gave up hope and still had a passion for Test cricket and I thought he went out there and did a great job.
‘The side just looks better with Malan at No 3, although I would have Zak Crawley opening the batting as I think he is a talented player with a lot to offer. Him opening and Malan at No 3 and that batting line-up suddenly looks very good.’
Former captain Michael Vaughan hailed England’s ‘mental strength and character’ after the emphatic win but warned Joe Root that India will ‘come back fighting’ in London next week.
‘It’s mental strength and character, Joe Root and Chris Silverwood have done a good job over the last few days,’ Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special.
‘I never have any doubt about an England Test team when the ball’s moving about like it did on the first day, but they’ve got to back it up at The Oval.
‘England needed to win the first session here after Lord’s, India will need to come back fighting and win that first session at The Oval to get their juices flowing.’
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