Moeen Ali was England's hero on Day Two © Getty Images
Moeen Ali was England’s hero on Day Two © Getty Images

Moeen Ali was the star of the day for England with a belligerent 77 batting at No. 8 and 2 for 67 with the ball. However, while his batting is definitely a boon for England, Shiamak Unwalla feels that he is still not good enough to play as the lone spinner. SCORECARD: England vs Australia 1st Ashes 2015 Test at Cardiff

Most teams in world cricket would be happy if their No. 8 batsman enjoys a Test batting average of anything more than 20. Moeen Ali scores his runs at 31.35 per innings. He has scored a nearly match-saving century batting at No. 7, and has produced more than a few good innings under pressure. Needless to say, Moeen coming in at No. 8 gives the English dressing room a sense of calm and their opponents a restless night. READ: Chris Rogers falls for 95 against England in 1st Ashes 2015 Test at Cardiff

That being said, with ball in hand Moeen remains unthreatening. That he has got 33 Test wickets at 32.60 is more due to batsmen playing him poorly than him actually prising out his victims. On Day Two of the first Ashes 2015 Test, he took the huge wickets of Steven Smith and Michael Clarke for 33 and 38 respectively. READ: Australia’s ‘Dad’s Army’ leader Chris Rogers makes intention clear

And yet, he never looked in the least bit threatening. He went at 4.78 in the 14 overs that he bowled, and bowled more than a few long hops. Perhaps both his wickets arose from a decided lack of respect on the part of the batsmen. Smith stepped out looking to go down the ground and ended up getting himself in a tangle, giving a leading edge to the fielder at silly mid on. Clarke too stepped out and only managed to spoon a return catch to Moeen.

His bowling analysis reads 2 for 67, but Moeen was once again gifted his wickets. This has been the trend ever since the India’s 2014 tour of England. That series earned him enough wickets to be taken seriously as a spinner but even those wickets were more due to the batsmen gifting him their scalps than him earning them.

One possible solution will be for England to drop the non-performing Ian Bell, shift everyone else one position up the order, and accommodate Adil Rashid as an additional spinner. Rashid has proven his batting prowess as well, so that is an added bonus.

One thing remains certain; Moeen Ali the current arrangement of having him bat at No. 8 and play as the main spinner is a band-aid solution to a problem that needs stitches to heal.

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)