England's top order has 'worst ever' batsmen - Fleming

2017-08-09 14:05
Tom Westley

London - Former Australia quick Damien Fleming says England's top six contains some of the worst batsmen he has seen play test cricket and believes the home pace attack will run through them in the Ashes series at the end of the year.

While Fleming conceded that all-rounders Ben Stokes and Moeen Ali, as well as wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, would cause problems for Australia he was scathing in his assessment of Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley and Dawid Malan.

"England needs three decent batsman in their top six," Fleming, who played 20 Tests and 88 one-dayers when Australia were in their pomp in the 1990s, told Melbourne's RSN radio.

"Watching the South African series, they're some of the worst batsmen I've ever seen play Test cricket."

England beat South Africa 3-1 in the just-completed series but Fleming said the retention for the Ashes of opener Jennings and top order batsman Westley would offer plenty of opportunities for the Australian bowlers.

"(Jennings) scored 127 runs at an average of 15. I used to bat nine in Test matches and I would just be happy with that, averaging 15. Just be happy. He's opening the batting," Fleming added.

"I don't like his technique, closed grip, he's going to nick people that can angle the ball across him and bowlers that can actually get the ball to shape back in, that gap between bat and front pad. This is an opening batsman.

"Westley has a similar technique. He is squared up, he has hands that are a long way in front of his body with a closed grip. How does he hit the ball through the off side? He's going to nick off or get in trouble with the ball that comes in.

"Where are 80 percent of the deliveries going to be to Jennings and Westley? Outside off stump, maybe shaping away. They don't have a technique to cope with that."

Westley and Malan made their Test debuts in the third Test against the Proteas, with the former taking over at "first drop" from the injured Gary Ballance, who did not escape Fleming's brutal analysis.

"How did Gary Ballance play Test cricket again after that last series two years ago there?" Fleming said, referring to the batsman's axing after two tests of the 2015 Ashes.

"Young Malan, 35 runs at an average of eight. There's real opportunities for Australia to run through the top order."

England, who won the 2015 series 3-2, begin their defence of the Ashes in Brisbane on November 23.

Read more on:    england  |  australia  |  ashes  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

India may be ranked No 1 in the ICC Test rankings, but after their series defeat to the Proteas, do they really deserve the mantle as world's best?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.