Pick Vince over Compton

James Vince

James Vince was part of the England squad that reached the final of the World Twenty20

England should pick James Vince to bat at number three in the first Test against Sri Lanka, according to former captain Michael Vaughan.

Nick Compton was recalled for the series in South Africa, averaging 30.6 in eight innings as England won 2-1.

Hampshire captain Vince, 25, has played one one-day international and four Twenty20s for England.

“You have to try to move the team on with better players and I think Vince is the better player,” said Vaughan.

Right-hander Vince has a first-class average of 41 and Vaughan told BBC Sport: “He’s played well for Hampshire for many years.

“He’s got the right style of game that might even go to another level when he plays Test cricket.

“I don’t think he’s in the league of Joe Root yet, but he’s a similar kind of player.”

Middlesex’s Compton made 85 in his first international innings for two and a half years to help England beat South Africa in the first Test in Durban.

He followed that with scores of 49 and 45 but after that did not pass 26 in five attempts.

“He played pretty well in Durban, but I don’t think he did enough,” said Vaughan, who played 82 Tests for England. “He hasn’t set the world alight for Middlesex so far this season.

“I watched him in the final Test against South Africa at Centurion and he didn’t look right.”

Compton has a high score of 44 in five first-class innings this season.


James Vince’s first-class returns have steadily improved year on year, and he has made some amends for last season’s disappointing campaign with a century against champions Yorkshire this summer

Taylor retirement leaves gap to fill

The England selectors will meet on Wednesday to choose the squad for the first Test at Headingley, which begins on 19 May.

They will definitely have to make one change to the side that beat South Africa, following the enforced retirement of James Taylor.

Vaughan thinks Taylor’s place at number five will go to one of Ian Bell or Gary Ballance, who were both dropped in 2015.

“I thought Ian Bell’s days were numbered but they might want to shore up the middle order with some experience,” said Vaughan.

“It’s a decision between him and Ballance. I don’t like Ballance at three for England or Yorkshire – I think he’s better in the middle.”

‘Give Hales another chance’


Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales played all four Tests for England in South Africa

Alex Hales became captain Alastair Cook’s eighth Test opening partner in the space of three and a half years in the South Africa series, managing only 136 runs in eight innings.

However, Vaughan believes the Nottinghamshire opener, who also plays one-day and T20 cricket for England, should get another chance in the Test side.

“I don’t think four games is enough to find out about Alex Hales,” added Vaughan. “I’d give him the Sri Lanka series.

“He will know that it’s a big series for him. In home conditions you would expect to get runs against that attack.”

‘There are places up for grabs’

The visits of Sri Lanka for three Tests and Pakistan for four this summer gives England the opportunity to win the only two bilateral trophies that they do not hold in five-day cricket.

Captain Cook, who has already scored three centuries for Essex this summer, admits there are “places up for grabs” in the England side.

Along with Vince, Cook’s Essex team-mate Tom Westley has also impressed, scoring 622 runs in first-class cricket so far this year.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with Tom and have seen him grow into a really good player,” said Cook. “I think his name will be pushed forward.

“The reports coming back on James Vince have been excellent. He seems to have the right character for it. It’s exciting as a captain when the team could go six or seven different ways.”

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