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Langer predicts hostile Ashes reception for Bancroft in England

Langer predicts hostile Ashes reception for Bancroft in England

AFP
Birmingham (United Kingdom)
Australia coach Justin Langer says an Ashes return for Cameron Bancroft would be “a great story” but knows he will face a hostile reception from England fans after his ball-tampering ban.
Bancroft, 26, is set to open the batting in Thursday’s first Test at Edgbaston, with Australia’s top order also likely to feature David Warner and Steve Smith.
If that is the case, it would mean all three players who were banned for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year would be in Australia’s XI.
Smith and Warner have already experienced plenty of boos from English crowds during the recent World Cup.
Bancroft, not selected for the one-day tournament, will almost certainly experience more of the same given he was the one who actually applied sandpaper to the ball during a Test away to South Africa in a blatant flouting of cricket’s rulebook.
“It would be a great story if he comes back into the team,” Langer said at Edgbaston on Tuesday.
“His development after what happened in Cape Town has been extraordinary.”
Langer, a former Australia opener, said: “We know what the reception is going to be. There’s nothing we can do about it. We don’t know (how he will cope) actually, but we’ll find out.
“He’s a good kid and as tough as anyone you could meet. To endure the scrutiny of the past 14 months, especially the first part of it, I think he’s had a pretty good dress rehearsal.”
Langer confirmed batsman Usman Khawaja, who missed Australia’s World Cup semi-final defeat by England at Edgbaston with a hamstring injury, had been passed fit and would play in the opening match of the five-Test series.
Fast bowler James Pattinson is also set to feature in what would be his first Test since February 2016, lining up alongside Pat Cummins and one of Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle or Josh Hazlewood in Australia’s pace attack.
Australia hold the Ashes but have not won a Test series away to England since 2001.
Root back to No. 3
Joe Denly confirmed on Tuesday that he would drop to number four in the batting order for England’s opening Ashes Test, with captain Joe Root replacing him at number three.
Root has previously made clear he prefers batting at four but the Yorkshireman is understood to have approached England coach Trevor Bayliss after last week’s Test win over Ireland about returning to his old position when the Ashes opener starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Although England beat Ireland by skittling out the visitors for 38 in their second innings at Lord’s, they only managed 85 all out themselves in their first innings.
Bayliss has long wanted Root, England’s best batsman, to bat at number three following a succession of top-order collapses that have seen the skipper walking out to bat at four when two cheap wickets have fallen.
Root averages 48 at number four in the order but a shade over 40 when batting at number three.
But with England openers Jason Roy and Rory Burns having played just eight Tests between them, the logic in having 81-Test veteran Root bat at number three is clear.
Denly, speaking at Edgbaston on Tuesday, said: “Joe Root will bat at three and I’ll be batting at four.
“He rang me the other day and told me he wanted to bat three and for me to go in at four. I think Rooty just wanted to get involved in the game, get up there and get out in the middle.”
“I’m very excited. I wasn’t too fussed where I’d be batting, it’s just great to be in the eleven. I’ve batted at four before for Kent and throughout my career, so it really wasn’t a big issue,” he added. “I’m just happy to be playing.”

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