London: Joe Denly will open the batting for England in the fourth Ashes Test with the struggling Jason Roy to drop down the order, the batsman told the BBC on Monday.
England will hope that Denly can add some solidity with Rory Burns when the fourth Test gets under way at Old Trafford on Wednesday, as the latter’s Surrey teammate Roy has accumulated just 62 runs in the three Tests so far.
Roy, who has failed to adapt to the five-day format since the World Cup-winning campaign earlier in the season, will drop down to four.
I got a call from Joe Root after a bit of time off and he said he’d like me to go at the top of the order and try to get us off to a good start.
Denly scored his first-half century of the series in England’s miraculous run chase in the third Test, inspired by Ben Stokes, which levelled the five-match series at 1-1.
“I got a call from [captain] Joe Root after a bit of time off and he said he’d like me to go at the top of the order and try to get us off to a good start,” Denly said.
Denly made scores of six and 17 as an opener on his Test debut against the West Indies in January before dropping down the order.
But he thinks his partnership with Rory Burns could enable Roy to attack the Australian bowling.
“Obviously Jason is going to bat four and that’s great for English cricket,” said the 33-year-old Denly.
“With Jason Roy in the team we are a better team and with him coming in at four, hopefully with the new ball worn off and myself and Rory Burns doing our job at the top, it allows him to come in and play his way. He’s a great player to have there.”
Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh has, meanwhile, joined Tim Paine and company for the remaining two matches of the Ashes as mentor. Waugh had arrived in Manchester on Sunday night as the team gears up for the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
“We asked him to stay for the third Test, but he had to go back for a function,” Australia coach Justin Langer was quoted as saying. “But he was actually going to fly there, do the function and fly back the next day. That’s how much he’s enjoying it. He’s been like a kid at Christmas. To come back after such a long time away from the game, his passion and enthusiasm for the game has been brilliant and it’s going to be great,” he added.
Langer welcomed the move and said it will benefit his players in the present and future.
“Guys like ‘Punter’ [Ricky Ponting] and Steve Waugh, not only have they got a great presence within the group but they’re great psychologists as well,” Langer said.
“They’ve been in the cauldron before, they’ve seen it before. We talk about developing our leadership in Australian cricket, to have your guys being able to learn from people of that calibre is very important short term, but longer term there’s huge value in that,” he added.