Nick Compton © Getty Images
Nick Compton © Getty Images

Nick Compton made a successful return to Test cricket after scoring 85 and 49 against South Africa in the first Test in Durban and helped his team register a 241-run win over the hosts. Trevor Bayliss, the England coach, impressed by his efforts, said Compton is a part of a very reliable top 3 in Test cricket and that he would want to prove his worth. “Ultimately, I’d like to see two of the top three guys as attacking-style batters; it puts pressure on the opposition a lot easier,” Bayliss said on Friday, reported on CricBuzz. “But if you haven’t got them, you pick the best available. What Compton has proven is that, of the guys around, he’s in the best top three. And he wants to, not make any changes, but show he’s a better player than before. I think with our team at the moment, with the middle order we’ve got – a lot of guys that play shots – if those guys can bat around Cook and Compton, that could be the way ahead for us.” FULL SCORECARD: South Africa vs West Indies, 2nd Test at Cape Town

“I’m not going to judge anyone on what went before; everyone is allowed to get better. And so far, around the squad, he’s been fantastic. He fitted in really well and obviously batted very well,” Bayliss added. In his column in the Telegraph, Kevin Pietersen wrote that Compton lost his place in the squad because of Alastair Cook, after posing some decent runs. “Nick Compton ground it out really well in Durban and it was fantastic to see him have success because he deserves this second chance,” he wrote. “He was very unlucky to lose his place in the team in 2013. It’s no secret he was cast aside because Alastair Cook had an issue with him. He did not like him and felt he couldn’t trust him. I’m just pleasantly surprised he has got another chance.”

“I was very happy he did because I thought he should never have lost his place in the first place. He scored back-to-back hundreds and really only had one poor Test match for England, against New Zealand at Headingley. He was going through some difficulties with his game at the time and deserved time to put them right, but unfortunately, was not given that chance.” Pietersen acknowledged that Compton can play a major role when England are in tough situations. “He is not the most exciting batsman in terms of attacking play and taking the game to the bowlers, but he can grind out a score, which is invaluable. England won the game in Durban inside four and a half days and Compton was the rock at the top of the order,” he pointed out. “He has game changers around him like Alex Hales and Joe Root, so he can play that anchor role when England are faced with difficult conditions, like on the first day in Durban when Dale Steyn was bowling with the new ball.” ALSO READ: Dale Steyn ruled out of South Africa vs England 2nd Test; Kagiso Rabada to replace him

“When you bat at four or five in the order, a presence like Compton’s or Jonathan Trott’s gives you reassurance. You know that when he gets himself in at three, he is going to take a lot of gas out of the bowlers. He is going to put a lot of overs into their legs. We always talk about getting bowlers into their third or fourth spells to tire them out, making it easier for guys who come in and give it a good whack.” Pieterson also praised Bayliss and Paul Farbrace for creating a comfortable environment for players like Compton. “People are different. They have to be managed,” wrote the former England batsman. ALSO READ: Kevin Pietersen praises England for victory over South Africa in 1st Test at Durban

“He was a different cat compared to some of the others in the dressing room at the time, so I am thrilled he is now in an environment created by Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace that is a lot more relaxed. Cook is more chilled out, too and hopefully, Compton can now go and enjoy himself, play cricket his way and not worry about all that other rubbish.” England will take on South Africa in the second Test in Cape Town starting on January 2.