ZAK CRAWLEY gears up for a Test recall on Boxing Day as England start dumping their failed batsmen.
Crowley, 23, has been kept in the opening spot for the third Test against Australia at the expense of Rory Burns or Haseeb Hameed.
And Jonny Bairstow, 32, is the match favorite in place of Ollie Pope at number 6 should England win to have any chance of getting the Ashes.
Crowley hasn’t played a Test since being axed during the summer series against India and averages 11 this year.
His international career faltered after he scored 267 against Pakistan in Southampton in 2020.
But he has made some technical adjustments which England believe can solve their problems with the sharp catch.
At 6 feet 5 inches, Crowley also looked impressive in the nets and was enjoying the bouncy of Australia’s pitches.
Burns has struggled since being bowled off the first ball of The Ashes, while Hameed has been making mistakes on the field as well as being weak at the top of the order.
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And the Pope looks like a walking wicket.
Bairstow is likely to replace him at the MCG, although Essex’s Dan Lawrence is an option.
Fast bowler Mark Wood will return, while spinner Jack Leach should play.
Captain Joe Root has been removed from the No. 1 spot in the Test batting world rankings by Marnus Labuschagne, who helped Australia take a 2-0 lead in the second Test with a ton.