England opening pair Keaton Jennings and Alastair Cook look set to retain their places at the top of the order for the fourth Test against India at the Ageas Bowl despite their continued struggles.
The duo have averaged a partnership of 28.80 in their five innings in the opening three Tests of the series and have become one of the weak links of a vulnerable batting line-up.
Jennings has scored just 94 runs at 18.80 while former captain Cook has struck 80 at 16.00 but current skipper Joe Root has declared his support for the underfire pair.
‘It’s been challenging conditions for the top order, for both sides,’ he explained.
‘We’ve got to be realistic about things – we’ve got two very good players at the top of the order.
‘We’ve got to go back and find ways to adapt, and that’s not just those two guys.
‘The best thing about [Buttler’s innings] is that he can crash the ball to all parts, but the thing about him is how he can look at a situation and work out how to play.
‘To have that performance in the bank will give him a great deal of confidence.’
After England were dismissed for just 161 in one session in the first innings, a more considered approach followed as they attempted to save the match.
Jos Buttler made his maiden Test century as part of a 169-run partnership with Ben Stokes, who himself made 56.
Stuart Broad, Adil Rashid and James Anderson also showed some resilience but it is in the top four where the problems remain.
Amid England’s struggles, Moeen Ali hit a double century for Worcestershire this week while the likes of Surrey’s Rory Burns and Hampshire batsman James Vince could also be considered.
Coach Trevor Bayliss refused to address whether there would be a change in personnel but admitted hard work was required to change England’s fortunes.
‘Most of the other teams we’ve played there have not been many runs scored at the top of the order,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘We’ve got to do the hard yards. There is not much difference between success and failure.’