Hales and Moeen face shootout for opening role

Alastair Cook's opening partner for England's first Test against Pakistan could be heavily influenced by performances in warm-up matches.

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Head coach Trevor Bayliss says Moeen Ali and Alex Hales will each get a chance to stake their claim to be Alastair Cook's opening partner ahead of England's first Test against Pakistan.

England have arrived in the United Arab Emirates ahead of three Tests, four one-day internationals and three Twenty20s.

The Test series gets under way in Abu Dhabi on October 13 and, with Adam Lyth having been discarded following an unproductive Ashes campaign, Moeen and Hales' opening credentials are set to be examined in a pair of two-day warm-up matches against Pakistan A in Sharjah next week.

"I don't think we've got a definitive answer just yet [on who will open alongside captain Cook]," said Bayliss at a news conference on Friday.

"We've got a few days of practice and a couple of warm-up games before we select that team. Both those players [Moeen and Hales] will get an opportunity.

"It will probably be determined by how we play in that first one and who needs an extra hit, who's had enough; we'll take it one game at a time.

"We've got a bit of an idea of who we will pick but it will probably come down as to whether we need an extra spinner or pace bowler and then do we need an extra batter? Who opens the batting could be a consequence of all those things.

"Whoever does well here is going to be very difficult to drop. A lot of it is up to the individual player."

Cook added: "It's between Hales and Mo, that's quite clear.

"Whichever side we pick, they have a great opportunity of doing something we haven't done for a while - which is getting a steady opening partnership."

While Bayliss remained non-committal on England's selection conundrum at the top of the order, the Australian did suggest leg-spinner Adil Rashid is highly likely to be handed a maiden Test cap after impressing in the recent one-day series against Australia.

Bayliss added: "I think he [Rashid] bowled extremely well in the one-dayers against Australia, and took wickets. I think he'll make his debut - I'm only one of two or three selectors, but that's my view. I think he'll play at some stage on this tour.

"If he goes out and bowls like he did against Australia, he backs himself, he bowls aggressively to take wickets, bowls his variations - there's no reason why he can"t be successful."

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