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Jennings' future at the top unclear

England coach hints that 'two or three' players could be in the mix to partner Alastair Cook in Australia

Keaton Jenning’s place at the top of the England order is assured for another Test, but his position as Alastair Cook’s opening partner for the Ashes is less certain.

Jennings was included in England’s 13-player squad for the fourth Test against South Africa in Manchester, having scored a determined 48 at The Oval after managing a just three runs in his three previous knocks.

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But England coach Trevor Bayliss hinted the opener was not yet sure of a start in the Ashes.

"It could be two or three guys (partnering Cook),” Bayliss told BBC Sport after Monday's 239-run win over the Proteas.

"When we go to Australia, we'll probably take more than a couple of openers, so it could be a number of those guys get a look in."

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The left-hander has scored 92 runs at 15.3 in his last six Test innings and while he scored 48 on day four of the third Test, he was dropped once, survived a review and playing a series of streaky boundaries before falling to a short ball from Kagiso Rabada.

It was that performance which prompted former South Africa captain Graeme Smith to say England needed to drop Jennings before the Ashes, believing the opener could find Australia "quite a scary place".

"Even though he got 48, there were a lot of edges," Smith said on Test Match Special.

"If I was a selector I'd be thinking it was time to make a change with the West Indies and then the Ashes coming up. Should England give another player time to settle in?

"The way that Jennings plays, I think Australia might be quite a scary place for him.”

Westley's debut half-century propels England

While Jenning’s future at Test level remains unclear, Bayliss praised two of the three debutants England fielded at The Oval after new No.3 Tom Westley scored 25 and 59, while fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones finished with 8-129 for the match.

He also struck three sixes on his way to 25 and an unbeaten 23.

"Eight wickets and runs, averaging 48, he probably thinks Test cricket is an easy game. They were good conditions, but you've got to be able to put the ball in the right area," Bayliss said of Roland-Jones.

"Tom Westley had a good mental approach to the game, didn't look flustered and struck the ball nicely. Again, we've seen that before, let's hope we're talking the same in 10, 15 or 20 Tests."

Meanwhile, England’s third new face Dawid Malan is set to be given another chance to prove his worth at Test level after managing scores of just one and 10 on debut at The Oval, retained in the 13-player squad alongside paceman Steven Finn, who kept his place after the injured Mark Wood was ruled out of the Old Trafford match.

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Finn was summoned as late cover for Wood on the eve of The Oval clash, after the Durham quick was sidelined with a heel injury that means he has now been omitted from the Old Trafford squad as well, but did not make it into the XI.

Hampshire left-arm spinner Liam Dawson, who did not play at The Oval after featuring in the first two Tests of this series, was retained in the squad.

England squad: Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Tom Westley, Joe Root, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Stuart Broad, Toby Roland-Jones, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Liam Dawson 

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