Ashes 2015: Opener Adam Lyth backed by selectors while pitch shows signs of pace

Yorkshire’s Lyth has managed just 72 runs in six innings this series, with a highest score of 37

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The Independent Online

England selector Mick Newell has defended batsman Adam Lyth following the opener’s Ashes struggles.

Yorkshire’s Lyth has managed just 72 runs in six innings this series, with a highest score of 37. The pressure is mounting on Alastair Cook’s opening partner as England head to Trent Bridge, where the fourth Test starts on Thursday, 2-1 up in the series and in sight of victory. A good start from Lyth could be crucial to the outcome of the Ashes.

Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales has been tipped to replace him but Newell, who also said he wants a pitch with “pace, carry and bounce” at Trent Bridge, insists the opener’s position is safe. “We haven’t even discussed anything beyond this Test match,” Newell said.

“Adam Lyth has everyone’s confidence to come out here and score runs. He has scored an awful lot of runs for Yorkshire to get into this team and he has a Test match century under his belt, so he has everyone’s confidence.

“It’s up to players like Alex Hales and others to push their cases in the county games.”

With victory in Nottingham so important, Newell, who is also director of cricket at Nottinghamshre, is hopeful the wicket will favour the home bowling attack.

“It’s looking good. The groundsman is preparing the pitch as he always does,” he said. “The main issues are that we want to make sure it has pace, carry and bounce through to the wicketkeeper and the slips are there to take the catches as they come.”

Meanwhile, Middlesex are resting England’s limited-overs captain, Eoin Morgan, for their next four games ahead of his international commitments against Australia.

“Eoin has been working his socks off trying to find the form he wants and it has so far not brought the results he is looking for,” the Middlesex director of cricket, Angus Fraser, said. “We believe a week or two away from cricket will allow him to recharge.”