Adam Lyth has had a tough time as opening partner to England captain Alastair Cook - but Ralph Ellis reckons its time for the Yorkshire batsman to come good . . .
"The selectors might have looked at Alex Hales as another option, but instead have backed Lyth – just as they did with Ian Bell before the Edgbaston Test, and we saw how he responded to that support."
Adam Lyth must have worried when he made his England debut, the moment he picked up his kit with his number embroidered on.
In the list of people picked to play cricket for their country, he's number 666. And if you've ever seen the 1970s film The Omen or any of its sequels, you'll know the significance. The sign of the beast.
Nobody in those horror movies ever died an easy way. One was speared by a falling church steeple, another beheaded by sheets of glass falling off a crashing lorry, one more attacked by ravens on a lonely country road. They met ends that were gruesome, spectacular, and shocking.
All of which is sadly so unlike the way Lyth has met his fate so far in this Ashes series. You'd have liked him to have suffered devilish fates, battling to deal with ferocious bouncers. Instead he's mostly just wafted his bat outside the off stump and gone meekly off an edge.
In fact it's a measure of his failure so far to handle the psychological demands of facing Australia that he's as long as [8.0] to be England's top first innings scorer at Trent Bridge. But having survived threats to drop him, Trent Bridge might just be the place he finds a bit of devil of his own.
Lyth proved he's got the technique in the first innings at Edgbaston, perfectly judging for an hour which balls to leave and which to play. It made it all the more annoying when he lost his concentration and gave his wicket away again.
He will have learned from that. This is a player that Jason Gillespie, his Yorkshire coach, describes as deep thinking and with the work ethic to not repeat mistakes. He's also a batsman who proved when scoring a ton against New Zealand earlier in the summer that he has the talent and the temperament to cope at top level.
Lyth knows this Fourth Test is probably his last chance to keep the job as Alastair Cook's partner that he's worked hard so hard to earn. And he also knows how badly his team needs him to succeed.
That's why he will benefit from the show of faith that England have put in him. The selectors might have looked at Alex Hales as another option, but instead have backed him - just as they did with Ian Bell before the Edgbaston Test, and we saw how he responded to that support.
That's when we'll see the best of a player who is clearly a popular part of the dressing room - you only had to see the reaction to the sharp catches he took to know that. On a Trent Bridge wicket which is expected to have a bit of pace but true bounce Lyth has everything in his favour to justify his inclusion.
With Cook and Bell working their way back to form and Joe Root firing on all cylinders, England's opening order has some authority. If Lyth can also reproduce the way he played against the Kiwis earlier this summer - well, you could call it an Omen to back England at [3.55] to win the Fourth Test.