There will be a lot of talk, quite rightly, about whether England are playing their best team at the moment given that they've been beaten so soundly in the first three Tests. But I'd hate to see England go back to the 90s style selections where we kept chopping and changing and - for the most part - not playing the right team.
England are doing the right thing in blooding the likes of Stokes and Bairstow, and Ballance is clearly one they hope will come through. They've also got James Taylor that they'll be expecting to come through and Sam Robson who is waiting in the wings for his opportunity. If you're wondering who else is being considered, take a look at the Lions squad for the February trip to Sri Lanka and add the likes of Onions and Compton.
What should the side be in Melbourne? (England averages here) It won't appease those that are hurting and therefore baying for more blood than is helpful, but much the same. I'd suggest the most likely side, assuming Broad is fit, is:
Cook, Carberry, Root, Pietersen, Bell, Stokes, Bairstow, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson.
They might look at Swann and Anderson's positions, but you do have to play 11! (If Onions was there I'd play him). And although Ballance is a great hope for the future, I don't think there's many people who would select him over the Root, Pietersen and Bell. I'd like to see England consider Cook at 3 and Root to open to give Cook a little longer between fielding and batting, but that's not a big change. Prior, sadly, has lost form with both bat and with the gloves so I think it's inevitable he'll be replaced by Bairstow. Not that Bairstow is an improvement in either area, and he's shown that he's not a fan of pace so the thought of him facing Johnson is more than a little worrying.
England's task now is to consider carefully how to manage their transition over the next few years. For how not to do it they need only look at Australia 2011-early mid 2013. They'll be thinking about this sort of side in 4 years time:
Robson, Cook, Root, Taylor, Ballance, Stokes, Borthwick, Foakes, Bresnan, Finn, Mills.
Others that I presume are in their thinking are the likes of Lees, Barker, Woakes, Bairstow, Coles, Jamie Overton, Jordan. But they're struggling for a spinner so hence going for Borthwick - a steady Ashley Giles type left-armer has a great chance of breaking through, which is no doubt why they looked at Kerrigan at The Oval last year.
How they get through to that team is the question, rather than bringing them all in now. And the likes of Cook, Bell, Root and Pietersen need to show why they're so highly regarded in Melbourne and Sydney.