The rest is as clear as mud ahead of the first Test against Bangladesh that starts on Thursday in Chittagong after both Ben Duckett and Haseeb Hameed scored runs on the final day of the final warm-up game against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI which dribbled to a draw.
The left-handed Duckett, who turned 22 on Monday, made 60 before retiring out and it was his fourth 50 in his last five innings for England. He made a cautious start before putting his foot down and making his runs off 101 balls and hitting 10 fours. Hameed, the classical cricketer to Duckett’s biffing, made 57 runs from 125 balls with nine fours before he too was retired out.
Either could now be asked to open the batting alongside Cook on Thursday in the absence of Alex Hales who bowed out of the tour due to safety concerns. Hameed, or Baby Boycott as he is known, is maybe the favourite given his more orthodox technique but Northampton’s Duckett has been so impressive it will be hard to ignore his claims.
Another option for England is to bat Duckett in the middle order. Joe Root is a shoo-in at No 3 but Nos 4 and 5 were filled by James Vince and Gary Ballance during the summer against Pakistan – neither to great effect. Vince is not in the Test squad but Ben Stokes is back from injury and England will play a second spinner in Adil Rashid.
England may choose to bat Moeen Ali up at No 5 and Ballance, who made an unbeaten 36 on Monday, at No 4. Or that spot could go to Duckett. That leaves Stokes at 6 and Jonny Bairstow at 7, Rashid at 8 and three more seamers – Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Steve Finn. Or, they may play a third spinner in Gareth Batty. Decisions, decisions.
Jos Buttler, who has been in brilliant form on the one-day leg of this tour so far, offers another option although he failed on Monday - making just four.
Meanwhile, Cook will break Alec Stewart's record for the most Test appearances on Thursday when he plays his 134th match.
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