Jennings Must Seize Final Chance at Old Trafford



Keaton Jennings is entering the last-chance saloon for his position in the England team in the final Test of the series against South Africa.

The 25-year-old has struggled throughout the series, falling victim to the quality of the Proteas’ opening bowlers Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.

The Durham batsman scored 48 in the second innings at The Oval to give himself a glimmer of hope of extending his tenure in the side.

However, he will need a big score at Old Trafford to prolong his stay for the rest of the summer against the West Indies with the Ashes on the horizon in the winter.

Jennings did show promise on his debut against India, notching a century in Mumbai, while he followed that display up with an innings of 54 in Chennai.

The long break between Test matches did not help the opener, while the quality of the bowling he has faced at the top of the innings has played a significant role in his struggles.

Jennings is the 11th batsman England have attempted to pair with Alastair Cook at the top of the innings. The 25-year-old has followed the pattern of initial success before being found out at the highest level.

Nick Compton, Michael Carberry, Sam Robson, Adam Lyth, Alex Hales, Ben Duckett and Haseeb Hameed have all been partnered with England’s highest run scorer. Even established players Jonathan Trott, Joe Root and Moeen Ali have failed to fill the role.

The book might not be closed on Duckett and Hameed, given their youth and promise, but the Three Lions need to find an answer soon as Cook is nearer the end of his career than the beginning.

Should Jennings find his feet at Old Trafford and deliver the form when dominated in the County Championship with Durham last season then the search could well be over. However, he needs to repay the faith shown in him by the selectors and coaches against the Proteas.