Ashes 2013/14: England could sacrifice Graeme Swann to help bolster batting in Perth
Selectors must consider playing four out-and-out seamers in bid to get back in series...
Last Updated: 09/12/13 3:37pm
The tourists, 2-0 down in the series after a 218-run defeat in Adelaide, have lost their last six Tests at the WACA in a dire run extending back to February 1991.
Former skipper Stewart ended up on the losing side three times at the ground - in 1991, 1998 and 2002 - and says the selectors must consider fielding an all-seam attack to get the most out of a pitch that is expected to offer plenty of pace and bounce.
"England have got to look at the make-up of the team," Stewart said on The Ashes Breakfast. "Are they going to go in with just one spinner and will that be Swann or Panesar?
"Previously it was always going to be Swann but he is averaging 99 in the two Tests and is going at more than four an over with a strike-rate of about 140 balls per wicket.
"You could go in without a spinner and just have Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen as the back-up. It's a brave decision but I think England have to do something slightly different. To leave Graeme Swann out of an England team is almost unheard of."
England's bid to retain the urn has been undermined by three hapless batting displays as left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson has run amok to take 17 wickets in the series at 12.70.
As no England top-order batsman has made a century as yet - Joe Root's 87 in the second innings at Adelaide being the closest - Stewart says the tourists may well opt to bolster their batting line-up at the expense of Swann, who has scored 13 runs in four knocks.
"I'd suggest the top five will stay as it is," said Stewart. "Ben Stokes did enough at six and I would have thought he'd stay in the team.
"Tim Bresnan will definitely come in, that's a given, but the question is whether they'll bring in Gary Ballance or Jonny Bairstow, who have both gone to Perth already to play in a three-day game against Western Australia's second team.
"They could then lengthen the batting with Matt Prior coming in at eight. They may look at going for Ballance at six, Stokes at seven and Prior at eight ahead of Bresnan, Broad and Anderson.
"You do leave yourself a little bit open if you leave a spinner out but it will definitely be something that the selectors will discuss.
"England have backed themselves very much on the continuity of selection but they haven't been in this position - 2-0 down - for a very, very long time.
"It's the batting that has fallen by the wayside and they've got to look at that. Are they going to forego a spinner to lengthen the batting and play four out-and-out seamers?
"Swann is probably England's best slip fielder. If he didn't play, then who is going to stand at second slip? These are the types of conundrums the selectors will look at.
"Whatever they do they have to make sure that the players believe they can win because, as Alastair Cook said, if you don't believe you might as well pack your bags and go home now."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of the third Test begins at 2am on Friday morning.
David Gower, Nasser Hussain and Andrew Strauss assess England's turmoil and Perth options on the Sky Sports Ashes Podcast. Download it here or listen via Soundcloud...