Matt - Again, I’d like to strengthen the bowling and with that - and to my disappointment, considering the nagging suspicion I harbour that he benefits more from others’ leadup work than his own - Steven Finn joins my XI. It was a toss-up between him and Bresnan, and rumours seem to suggest that Finn is more likely to play than the Yorkshireman. I’m not in love with the selection, but with seven players left (including four Aussie batsmen), this is the best I’m going to get.
Dave - With a press release rather unceremoniously uprooting Nick Compton as a member of England’s chosen opening partnership, it seems Jonny Bairstow is a shoe-in to start and bat at number 6. While KP was away, the Yorkshireman did an amicable job and the promise - though it hasn’t got the nation as giddy as county teammate Root – is definitely there.
Matt - While Dave’s just taken the reddest player in the series, I’m stoked that my next pick - and maybe the series’ best ginger kid - is still available this late: Chris Rogers. I’m not sure he’ll play - he should, especially now Boof Lehmann is the boss - but he can bat anywhere from 1-4 and if I were boss (which is all blogging is, really) he’d stride out at first drop when Shane Watson gets out to a moving ball. (This piece was written one day before Lehmann announced Rogers will open for the Aussies)
Dave - It’s only in recent days since we first did the draft that it looks as if Usman Khawaja might be struggling for a starting berth. I thought his close links to Lehmann through Queensland might make an outside chance. He has the technique to excel in England but does he have it mentally just yet? Time will tell.
Matt - We’re starting to get into a real pickle here. The only players still left on my board are Haddin, who I’m bound to pick and therefore will go at 13 and not before; Ed Cowan, who I love, but would take an opening spot from Root or Cook; James Faulkner; Phil “involuntary shudder” Hughes or Nathan Lyon, who’s extraneous now I have Swann, Siddle, Starc and Finn. I’ll take Faulkner - he’s young, unsullied and can contribute with both leather and willow.
Dave - I’m kind of edging my bets here with this pick. It’s between Bresnan and Finn for Engand’s final fast bowling spot and I already have who I currently view as the best three quicks in the series. Nevertheless Tim Bresnan is Mr Dependable for England in the longer format of the game. Averaging 31 with the bat and 32 with the ball makes him someone that will work nicely in this draft.