Bairstow speaks up for Moeen

01 January 2018 00:41:22 GMTPlus11

Jonny Bairstow has offered strong backing to England team-mate Moeen Ali, who has struggled for form in the Ashes Test series in Australia.

Several reports have suggested that Moeen could be left out of the side for the final Test in Sydney, with young leg-spinner Mason Crane ready to take over as first-choice spinner for the tourists if required.

The talent and capabilities of Moeen Ali are unquestionable.

Jonny Bairstow

However, Bairstow has no doubts about the quality that his colleague possesses, even if the Worcestershire all-rounder has struggled in recent times.

He told reporters: "The guy is second-fastest (England player) ever to 2,000 Test runs and 100 Test wickets.

"It's unquestionable to even think he's not in that best XI. He wouldn't have played the first four Test matches if he's not in that first XI.

"It's very important we get behind Moeen - he can take a game away from you. Whether it be this next game, whether it be the first Test match in New Zealand, the talent and capabilities of Moeen Ali are unquestionable."

England skipper Joe Root had earlier given his backing to Moeen, although his comments also seemed to contain a hint that the off-spinner may be left out of the XI to feature at the SCG.

He told BBC Sport: "Moeen has struggled, but he is a fine player. Like other guys, he has proven before when it is not going his way he is able to wrestle it back in his favour.

"He will have a big future for England. It is important that everyone knows that."

England are available at 4.50 to win the fifth and final Test, with the draw priced at 4.33, while Crane is 6.00 to be top first innings bowler for the Three Lions.

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