Published On: Fri, Aug 30th, 2019

England to make Jason Roy tweak for Ashes fourth Test as series moves on to Old Trafford | Cricket | Sport

Roy, a piranha at the top of the order in one-day cricket for England, has looked like a fish out of water in this series and will be dropped down to No 4 at Old Trafford with Joe Denly taking his place.

The destructive Roy was such a key figure for England early in the innings in the World Cup that they felt it worth a punt on trying to develop him as a Virender Sehwag-style opener in the Test team.

It has not worked out against the red ball in English conditions with just 57 runs in the Ashes series.

His average of 8.85 as a Test opener is the lowest bar New Zealand’s Ken Rutherford of any batsman to have done the job on as many occasions as he has.

England coach Trevor Bayliss admitted before Leeds that Roy would probably be better off in the middle order where he plays his red ball cricket for Surrey.

“Personally I think he probably is suited to the middle order but we’ve selected him in the top of the order because of his form in the one-day team,” said Bayliss.

“Long term he’s more middle order. He’d feel more comfortable there but he’s doing a job for the team at the moment.”

Denly will swap places with him in Manchester, partnering Rory Burns, having shown plenty of application and character in his 50 in the second innings at Headingley.

His gritty contribution was overshadowed by the Ben Stokes show but may have saved his Test career.

England will hope against hope the new combination will give them some sort of launchpad in the Fourth Test having not managed an opening stand which has lasted ten overs in the series.

England are likely to name an unchanged side, personnel-wise, for Old Trafford although they have the option of shuffling their bowling attack having added Somerset pace bowler Craig Overton to the squad yesterday.

Overton played the last of his three Tests in England’s defeat to New Zealand Auckland 18 months ago but has been in form this summer with 32 first-class wickets at an average of 21.

Chris Woakes would be the most vulnerable of England’s bowlers in the event of a like-for-like swap unless they go for an all-pace attack and leave out Headingley hero Jack Leach.

Such a move would probably cause questions in the Houses of Parliament whatever other business they have on next week.

Australia are certain to recall Steve Smith despite his inconclusive return from concussion against Derbyshire.

Smith made a modest 23 from 38 balls yesterday before holing out at deep cover thrashing at Matt Critchley’s leg breaks.

Having faced only five balls against seam bowling on his comeback after being felled by Jofra Archer at Lord’s, he then headed straight to the nets.

England fourth Test squad versus Australia:

Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain, Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Jack Leach (Somerset), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

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