Former captain Kevin Pietersen has called for drastic change at the top of England’s misfiring batting order after their 340-run second-Test thrashing at the hands of South Africa.
England lost 14 of 20 wickets to the Proteas’ pacemen in Nottingham and Pietersen has called out the selectors for picking a top three with similar passive styles.
Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings and Gary Ballance combined for just 79 runs in the match as Joe Root’s side failed to face 100 overs in total at Trent Bridge.
Ballance will miss the third Test at The Oval with a fractured finger but Pietersen wants an additional change to the top-order trio.
The 104-Test veteran wants to see the aggressive and uncapped pair of Jason Roy and Dawid Malan selected to break up the measured game play of the top three and strike fear into opposition bowling attacks.
Roy and Malan featured in England’s T20 outfit in the final match against the South Africa in Cardiff last month, the latter making his international debut and starring with a blistering 44-ball 78.
That innings from Malan is what Pietersen wants to see at The Oval in a week’s time.
"(England) picked a poor Test match team," Pietersen told Sky Sports after making his domestic T20 return for Surrey. "I know they won (the first Test) at Lord's but that was the brilliance of (Joe) Root.
"There's individuals that are brilliant, but the collective don't fire as much as they should and there are some holes in that batting order.
"You cannot have a top three that bat as the top three bat or has poor technique, you cannot have that.
"You've got to change that up, get them striking, get bowlers thinking 'Goodness, if I don't bowl this ball in the right place, I'm going to get whacked'. Malan and Roy are my choice."
While Pietersen suggests picking attacking stroke-makers will solve England’s batting woes, former skipper Michael Vaughan believes it’s the hosts’ offensive approach that’s causing regular collapses.
"The England batting has been appalling," Vaughan said on the BBC’s Test Match Special.
"Maybe it’s a lack of respect about what the game is.
"They look like they are playing a Twenty20 game. I look at the approach - yes, the ball has done a little bit but it’s not been drastic.
"They have this approach of attack, attack, attack. There is no thought or feeling of seeing off a bowler or wearing a team down."
Root, who in only two Tests in charge has experienced a comprehensive victory and crushing defeat, was shocked by Vaughan’s comments.
"I think that’s very unfair - I can’t believe he’s actually said that to be honest," said Root.
"We pride ourselves on winning series like this and unfortunately we’ve played poorly this week but the most important thing now is to respond well and make sure we put it right at The Oval."