Moeen Ali works on the short ball and climbs England batting order

• Moeen and Bairstow to move up a place to cover for suspended Stokes
• All-rounder fit for final practice match before next week’s first Test

Moeen Ali will be a vital player for England over the next two months but he has been unusually peripheral in the tour’s opening fortnight, laid low with the slightest of side strains. However the all-rounder says he is now fit and ready to feature in England’s final warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI on Wednesday, only eight days before the Test series starts at the Gabba, where his importance is magnified by the absence of Ben Stokes.

Jonny Bairstow, who has started the tour in fine form, and Moeen, will move up a place in the batting order in the suspended Stokes’s absence in Townsville, and Moeen – who has long coveted a role in the top five – is not complaining. “Obviously I want him out here but also for myself it’s an opportunity to go up the order,” he said. “My whole thing is to try and get up the order as much as I can.”

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