Australian fast bowler Damien Fleming termed England’s top-order line-up as the ‘worst’ in the longest version of the game while urging Steven Smith-led side to take most of the advantage in the Ashes series which is scheduled for November 23 in Brisbane.
“Watching the South African series, they’re some of the worst batsmen I’ve ever seen play Test cricket,” Fleming told Melbourne’s radio station RSN.
However, the Western Australia-born Fleming reiterated Three Lions need at least three quality batsmen at the top, in order to provide a cushion for the rest of the lineup particularly in the Test set-up to wrestle in the Australian conditions during the traditional series.
“England needs three decent batsmen in their top six,” Fleming added.
The former fast bowler Fleming has taken a dig at the 25-year-old Keaton Jennings, who has scored 294 in 12 innings of six Tests at an average of 24.50 after donning the white jersey against India, in December 2016 at Mumbai’s Wankhede.
Fleming revealed Jennings is vulnerable owing to his flawed technique as an opening batsman in the five-day cricket which according to him is not a good sign for the contemporary cricket for a quality side like England.
”I don’t like his technique, closed grip, he’s going to nick people that can angle the ball across him and for bowlers that can actually get the ball to shape back in, that gap between bat and front pad. This is an opening batsman,” Fleming said on struggling Jennings.
Under the leadership of newly-appointed skipper Joe Root, the mediocre Jennings has scored 127 runs in the eight innings of four Tests at an unhealthily average of 15.8, as his highest score was 48 during the recently concluded series against the Proteas-led Faf du Plessis.
“Young Jennings and the debate is, ‘Does he get another opportunity?’ He 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,” remarked Fleming.
It’s pertinent to mention, the numbers of the top-order batsman for England haven’t been that impressive at home against South Africa that could be further understood by Gary Balance’s average of 21.25 and Tom Westley’s scoring average of 30.5 which included his best score of 59.
(Read Further – Proteas Skipper Faf Du Plessis Backs England To Claim Ashes)
The Cambridge-born 28-year-old batsman Westley also bore the brunt of Fleming’s barbs in the latest interview where he revealed the right-handed batsman could be also be found wanted with the deliveries coming into the batsman as he similar technique like his batting partner Jennings
”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,” Fleming concluded.
Fleming’s response came when England head coach Trevor Bayliss has expressed a concern over the English top-order batting lineup even after clinching the four-match Investec Test series 3-1 against South Africa after convincingly winning the fourth Test by 177 runs in Manchester.
Fleming had featured in 88 One-day Internationals and 20 Tests for Australia, the right arm fast bowler bagged 134 wickets in ODIs and 75 in longer format respectively.