England v Pakistan: Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes could play first Test as batsmen

Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler
Ben Stokes (left) and Jos Buttler (right) were key members of England's side for the 2016 World T20
England v Pakistan - first Test
Dates: 14-18 July Venue: Lord's Start time: 11:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text commentary online & on BBC Sport app

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes could be included as specialist batsmen in England's squad for the first Test with Pakistan, says coach Trevor Bayliss.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler, 25, scored an unbeaten 73 in the Twenty20 win over Sri Lanka on Tuesday.

All-rounder Stokes, 25, is unable to bowl following knee surgery but has been playing as a batsman for Durham.

"They have to be in contention, I would think," said Bayliss before the first Test, which starts on 14 July.

"There's Buttler, [Surrey's Jason] Roy, Stokes playing as a batter - he made 250 [258 in 198 balls against South Africa in Cape Town in January] just a few Tests ago.

"It will be an interesting selection meeting."

Next week's Test is the first of four Tests England will play against Pakistan, before five ODIs and one T20 international.

'Confident Buttler has a role to play'

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler (right) has played 15 Tests for England, averaging 30 with the bat

Buttler was dropped from the Test side after a run of poor form, with his last five-day appearance coming in the second game against Pakistan in Dubai last October.

He has not played a first-class match for county Lancashire since his last Test, while Yorkshire's Jonny Bairstow has taken over the gloves with the national side.

However, he has impressed with the bat in limited overs cricket, scoring 93 and 70 in the one-day series with Sri Lanka prior to his match-winning knock in the T20 in Southampton.

"Personally, I think he'd be better in Test cricket if he played like he does in the white-ball game," said Australian Bayliss. "That would be devastating, him coming in at six or seven, and being able to play that.

"He certainly looks like he has a lot of confidence at the moment - this series [against Sri Lanka] has probably been as consistent as he's played since I got here.

"I'm sure he'd love to be in the Test team, and I'm sure he'll play a lot more Test cricket."

Number three up for grabs

Joe Root
Joe Root has batted predominantly at number four for England in the last 12 months

England must make a change further up the order, after out-of-form number three Nick Compton's decision to take a break from all cricket.

Yorkshire's Joe Root or Hampshire's James Vince will move up from their positions, unless England bring in a new number three such as Durham's Scott Borthwick, who has scored three hundreds and averages 58.50 in the County Championship this season.

Bayliss said: "Long-term, I think Root is our number three.

Scott Borthwick in the 2016 County Championship
InningsRunsTop scoreAverage

"Rooty would have to want to do it - it's a big change, and he's done well at number four.

"My way of thinking is you put your best batter at number three.

"From what I've seen of Vince, I think he could handle number four also. In a way he's a similar style of player to Rooty - a classical player, plays nice and straight - so there's no reason why he couldn't make a success of number three."

Anderson remains a doubt

James Anderson
James Anderson injured his bowling arm during the third Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's last month

There are still fitness concerns regarding England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson.

The 33-year-old has been diagnosed with a stress fracture of the shoulder blade in his bowling arm.

"I'm not sure the medical team know exactly how long it will take to come back," added Bayliss.

"There will be an ongoing assessment between now and the Test, giving him every chance to make himself available."

Amir in line for Test return

Mohammad Amir bowls Adam Hose
Mohammad Amir has not played in a Test match since 2010, but has 51 wickets in 14 matches

Pakistan seam bowler Mohammad Amir is set to make his Test comeback at Lord's, the venue where his bowling of deliberate no-balls during the 2010 tour of England earned him a five-year ban after pleaded guilty to spot-fixing.

The 24-year-old impressed in the recent tour match with Somerset, taking 3-36 in the first innings and 1-42 in the second.

England captain Alastair Cook is expecting England fans to give Amir hostile reception.

"I'm sure there will be a reaction and that is right," said Cook.

"That is part and parcel, that when you do something like that there are more consequences than just the punishment - that is something for him to cope with, whatever comes his way.


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