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England could bring in Dan Lawrence after Joe Denly keeps just two balls in the warm-up game

England can be bold and bring in Dan Lawrence against West Indie after Joe Denly has only two balls in the squad warm-up game

  • England played the last day of their warm-up game within the team on Friday
  • Joe Denly gave selectors a headache by being sent off the second ball
  • They are concerned about the best way to replace Joe Root against the West Indies

Joe Denly accidentally gave England a compelling reason on Friday to decide that planning for their Ashes top order future should really begin now.

On the day England breathed a sigh of relief when Sam Curran tested negative for Covid-19, Denly made for a smaller headache by not grabbing his first test site.

Denly’s firing for his second ball on the last day of the warm-up match within England leaves voters worried about the best way to replace Joe Root when they name their team the West Indies in the Ageas Bowl at Saturday.

Joe Denly (right) scored only one point during the warm-up match in England on Friday

Joe Denly (right) scored only one point during the warm-up match in England on Friday

And their deliberations should revolve around whether Denly really is the best man to enter at three, not just next Wednesday, but against Australia in 18 months.

Rory Burns, who spent nearly two hours on Friday making 35 for Jos Buttler’s team in his first game after an injury, is honored enough to return to the top rank with Dom Sibley immediately.

England could still include both Denly and Zak Crawley, who made such a promising impression when he replaced Burns in South Africa at three and four o’clock in the absence of their captain, now back home in Sheffield before the arrival of his second child.

But with Denly still struggling to prove he’s capable of holding over a hundred balls in a Test inning before coming out, the thing for England to be brave and bring in Dan Lawrence next week is exciting.

The case with England hiring Dan Lawrence next week is exciting

The case with England hiring Dan Lawrence next week is exciting

The case with England hiring Dan Lawrence next week is exciting

It might have been revealing to see Ollie Pope promote to four on Friday, where he made an unbeaten 55 before Buttler declared a second time in the game with his squad at 200 for six. Stand-in captain Ben Stokes’s team then reacted 157 for four before both teams bump elbows in a tie.

Pope could now take Root instead of Root with Crawley at three and Lawrence at six. For the time being, the Essex-man, who made 58 in the first innings after playing for the Lions in Australia last winter, will at least be included in what is likely to be a 15-man squad, with seven reserves asked to enter the Ageas stay bubble bubble.

Curran, who was isolated after illness on Thursday, returns to training over the weekend and is closely monitored by the team doctor before undergoing another covid test with the rest of the squad on Sunday.

Ollie Pope was promoted to four on Friday, achieving an unbeaten 55

Ollie Pope was promoted to four on Friday, achieving an unbeaten 55

Ollie Pope was promoted to four on Friday, achieving an unbeaten 55

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