WA batsman Cameron Bancroft’s technique is under renewed scrutiny after the emerging opener again fell cheaply today in the fourth Ashes Test.
And with an important tour of South Africa around the corner, Usman Khawaja fared even worse as Australia looked to salvage a draw in the dead-rubber MCG contest.
Bancroft looked in reasonable touch before chopping a Chris Woakes delivery onto his stumps on 27.
The West Australian has scored 179 runs at 29.83 in a solid but not spectacular start to his Test career.
Australia plays four Tests in South Africa beginning in March and the tour squad is expected to be picked before the next Sheffield Shield round starts on February 8.
It is highly unlikely selectors would lose faith in Bancroft, particularly with predecessor Matt Renshaw badly out of form.
But his latest dismissal at the MCG was enough to raise queries about his positioning and technique.
“The problem is that toe coming across and pointing at cover makes it difficult for him to get the bat through where he wants to,” former Test opener Michael Slater told the Nine Network.
“He has to play in an awkward way and the bat’s path comes down away from the pad, (which) was enough for an inside-edge back onto the stumps.
“He didn’t do a lot wrong but I think opposition bowling attacks will target the bat-flow and just how he places that front foot.”
Test allrounder and WA captain Mitch Marsh said Bancroft was resilient enough to handle his form being scrutinised.
“The good thing about Cameron is that even though he’s missed out on big scores, he’s getting starts, which means that he has the ability to get through new-ball spells,” Marsh said.
“He’s a different cat, he has his own little things that he does but he’s been great around the group and that won’t change for him.”