Move Cook to No3 and look beyond Branderson: how England can regain Ashes | Rob Smyth

A new challenge could revitalise Alastair Cook, wildcards in squads can help find the X-factor and the exits of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad must be staggered

The search for Alastair Cook’s opening partner has overshadowed an even greater need to fill the most important batting position of all. James Vince, for all his seductive talent, is the antonym of a Test No3. There will be more calls for Joe Root to move up, though few captains have had long-term success in that position – Ricky Ponting is a spectacular exception – and there’s a reason why Steve Smith and Virat Kohli bat No4. Dawid Malan has the temperament and adaptability, though exposing him to high-class new-ball bowling might kill the golden goose.

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