England are still to name a side for Thursday’s second Ashes Test but skipper Alastair Cook says a recall for spinner Monty Panesar is definitely under consideration.
Trailing 1-0 in the five-match series, the tourists are expected to drop third seamer Chris Tremlett for fit-again paceman Tim Bresnan, although Panesar is considered an outside chance to get back into the side.
Following England No.3 Jonathan Trott’s return home with a stress-related illness, England also have a vacancy in their top six which is expected to be filled by uncapped left-hander Gary Ballance.
Australia captain Michael Clarke on Wednesday tipped Bresnan and Ballance to win selection.
“I’m not going to name the side,” Cook told a news conference on Wednesday.
“It’s quite a dry wicket. We want to make sure we get the balance of the side right.”
Panesar and Test offspinner Graeme Swann claimed seven wickets between them in the Chairman’s XI first innings of last week’s drawn tour match in Alice Springs.
Cook says pairing them together at Test level is a possibility for Adelaide on the new drop-pin pitch which is expected to offer slow turn.
“It is a realistic option,” Cook said.
Zimbabwe-born Ballance, 24, was man of the match for England in Alice Springs after his first-innings knock of 55.
His likely inclusion at No.6 would leave middle-order duo Ian Bell and Joe Root in line for a promotion to No.3.
Bell, who was player of the tournament in the Ashes series in the UK in August, was hit on the shoulder while batting in the nets on Tuesday.
“He’s fine. It’s just one of those blows to the shoulder,” Cook said.
“It goes dead for a few hours.”
Cook says Trott’s departure means England have a tough hole to fill.
“Trotty was outstanding for us at No.3,” Cook said.
“Someone is going to have to step up.”
Cook denied England’s 381-run loss in last month’s first Test at the Gabba was a mental lapse and said a batting collapse on day two was the key moment.
“It’s quite unfair to say we didn’t have the right attitude in Brisbane,” Cook said.
“Our skills weren’t up to it.”
England team (likely): Alastair Cook (capt), Michael Carberry, Joe Root, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Gary Ballance, Matt Prior, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, James Anderson.