In Brief

Ashes 1st Test: Joe Root is ready to step up and boost England’s fragile batting order

England captain set to bat at No.3 against Australia at Edgbaston

Ashes 1st Test: England vs. Australia 
  • When: 1-5 August 2019  
  • Where: Edgbaston, Birmingham  
  • Daily start time: 11am (BST)  
  • TV channel: live on Sky Sports, highlights on Channel 5  
  • Full schedule 

Joe Root will bat at No.3 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on Thursday in a bid to bolster England’s fragile top order against the Australia bowling attack. 

The England captain prefers to bat at four but in recognition of the problems his side have had in the last season or two he will move up a place.

The Times says that Root - who has scored seven of his 15 Test centuries batting at four - “made the offer to switch” to coach Trevor Bayliss after England were dismissed by Ireland for 85 last week. 

Bayliss has long believed that Root should bat higher up the order and so he accepted his captain’s offer, particularly after the humiliating collapse against a mediocre Irish attack in the one-off Test. 

Root’s average is 48 when he bats at four but only 40 when he comes in at three. 

Confident

Despite Root’s elevation, Jason Roy will continue to open with Rory Burns, contrary to suggestions the one-day specialist might drop down the order, and Joe Denly will now bat at four. 

But whatever the composition of England’s top order, Australia’s legendary paceman Glenn McGrath has told the BBC that were he still playing he would be “quietly confident” at the prospect of bowling to them. 

Describing the England batting line-up at “far from solid”, McGrath said: “England do not currently have a top order that has been successful Test after Test, series after series.”

England batsman Jason Roy made his Test debut against Ireland at Lord’s

Stu Forster/Getty Images

Roy riposte

McGrath’s comments come just 24 hours after current Aussie seamer Josh Hazlewood suggested that it was asking a lot of Roy to adapt to Test cricket after years in the one-day game. 

Asked what he thought of Hazlewood’s analysis, the English batsman told talkSPORT: “He said Test cricket is hard and he’s right, that’s just stating the obvious. 

“If he has said that I won’t succeed in Test cricket then that’s a little bit harsh. But they’re under a lot of pressure, he’s played a lot of Test cricket and I haven’t, so we’ll see in a few days.”

On the question of where he preferred to bat in the England innings, Roy said: “I’ve got no preferences at the moment. I think the middle order is pretty set and my opportunity has arisen from coming in as an opening batsman, so I’ve just got to take that opportunity and see where I go with it.”

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