England captain Joe Root will bat at No 3 in opening Ashes Test with Joe Denly and NOT Jason Roy moved to No 4… despite worries over facing new ball
- England face Australia in the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston on Thursday
- Joe Root will bat at No 3 after deciding to move up from his usual No 4 position
- England team-mate Joe Denly confirmed that he will be batting at No 4 instead
Joe Denly has confirmed he will drop to No 4 in England’s Ashes opener, with captain Joe Root replacing him in the top three. This means that Jason Roy will likely open the batting in a shock move.
As reported by Sportsmail on Monday, Root is understood to have approached head coach Trevor Bayliss following the Test victory over Ireland at Lord’s and offered to take up his old role at first wicket down when the series gets under way on Thursday.
That is the spot Bayliss has long wanted Root, the side’s best batsman, to occupy and Denly was happy to make it official.
England captain Joe Root will bat at No 3 for England during the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston
Root’s team-mate Joe Denly confirmed that he will bat at No 4 instead with Root at No 3
‘Joe Root will bat at three and I’ll be batting at four,’ he said.
‘He rang me the other day and told me he wanted to bat three and for me to go in at four. I think Rooty just wanted to get involved in the game, get up there and get out in the middle.
‘I’m very excited. I wasn’t too fussed where I’d be batting, it’s just great to be in the XI. I’ve batted at four before for Kent and throughout my career, so it really wasn’t a big issue.’
It was expected that Roy and not Denly would be shielded from the new ball by coming into bat at No 4.
Making his Test debut against Ireland last week, Roy was out for just five runs in the first innings as he opened the batting with Rory Burns. For the second innings he scored an enterprising 72 after coming in at No 3 following nightwatchmen Jack Leach’s impressive 92-run haul.
This means that Jason Roy is likely to open the batting despite thoughts he would move to No 4
But speaking to Sportsmail, Roy insisted he was comfortable opening against Australia.
‘I was happy to open,’ Roy insists. ‘It’s my job and I won’t shy away from it. I’ve never had a nightwatchman in county cricket but I couldn’t say, “No coach, no captain, I’m going in” because if I’d nicked off I would have looked an idiot. But it worked out all right and I think Leachy should be on the honours board for his 92!
‘I actually felt good in the second innings. I just wanted to play strong shots because I knew the pitch was a bit dodgy. I’ve spoken about getting big hundreds in white-ball cricket and nothing changes in Tests. It wasn’t a bad score on that pitch but for Test cricket it was pretty average.
‘I will adapt to whatever is thrown my way and whatever the attack has got. If it so happens that we need me to go on the counter-attack or be a bit more aggressive, I will be. I will take it step by step, still try to be attacking and positive but build my innings too.’
However, speaking to Sportsmail Roy insisted he would be comfortable opening the batting