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Graeme Swann: 'England should drop Gary Ballance for Alex Hales'

Former England spinner Graeme Swann calls for Alex Hales to replace Gary Ballance at the top of the order for the crucial World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Wellington.

Former England spinner Graeme Swann has called for Alex Hales to replace Gary Ballance for the crucial World Cup match against Sri Lanka in Wellington tonight.

England captain Eoin Morgan has hinted that changes could be made and Ballance's place is in jeopardy following only 30 runs in three games since his recall to the side.

Swann would like to see Twenty20 star Hales given a chance to make England more destructive at the top of the innings.

"Unfortunately for Gary, he's struggling for form and so I wouldn't play him," he told BBC Sport.

"Other teams have shown that aggressive play at the top can really reap the benefits and England have one of the most aggressive batsmen in the world in Alex Hales. He should be in at the top of the order."

England are second from bottom in the Pool A table, with two points from three games having beaten Scotland following heavy defeats to co-hosts Australia and New Zealand.

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Gary Ballance of England hits out during the 1st Royal London One Day International match between England and Sri Lanka at The Kia Oval on May 22, 2014
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan134522
United StatesUnited States12131035
ChinaChina126927
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia810624
AustraliaAustralia81918
Great BritainGreat Britain57618
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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