Stuart Broad back for England as pace duo are ‘rested’
Broad was left out on home soil for the first time in eight years in the series opener and caused a stir with a stark television appearance in which he described himself “frustrated, gutted and angry”.
England went on to lose the match by four wickets and will take the field at Emirates Old Trafford this morning showing at least three changes to their XI, one of which will surely see Broad’s comeback as leader of the attack.
The return of captain Joe Root led to the almost inevitable dropping of Joe Denly after 15 unconvincing appearances at the highest level, but Anderson and Wood have both been left out of a 13-man squad with an eye on workload management.
As if to ram the point home the pair were officially listed as “rested” by the England and Wales Cricket Board, rather than among a separate group of seven reserve players.
The condensed nature of the schedule meant a rotation policy among the quicks was always forecast and, after sending down a combined 74 overs at the Ageas Bowl, Anderson and Wood have been shuffled out. For England’s record wicket-taker it means he must wait until the third Test to bowl from the James Anderson End at his home ground.
All-rounder Sam Curran and uncapped Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson were promoted in their absence, though Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes is arguably next in line. Curran does offer a point of difference as a left-armer and his footmarks may also be of benefit to off-spinner Dom Bess, but Woakes has a bowling average of 23.45 and a batting average of 35.23 in English conditions and brings plenty of experience.
Root returns at Emirates Old Trafford following the arrival of his second child as 34-year-old Denly drops out.
With an average of 29.53 after 15 Tests and no centuries, Kent batsman Denly, pictured, was vulnerable and a confident knock of 76 from county team-mate Zak Crawley effectively sealed his fate during the four-wicket defeat at the Ageas Bowl.
Root said: “It’s never an easy decision, never easy having to leave someone out.
“With Joe over a period of time he’s done a brilliant job for us, he’s helped show our identity as a side and how we played moving forward. It’s a very difficult decision but we’ve gone a different way.
“You watch Zak’s progression since he’s been involved in the team, his game has continued to get stronger.
“Joe is someone who has done a fantastic job for us over a period of time and he’ll be as frustrated as anyone that he’s not been able to convert those opportunities.”
England are still carrying an expanded training group of 22 – seamer Saqib Mahmood having been moved across to the white-ball squad – and have yet to cut it down to tighter matchday squad.
Root was an avid viewer of last week’s action, barely missing a beat in the match despite having his new paternal duties and some batting practice of his own to tick off.
And while he was reluctant to critique too much of what he saw, he does believe his team-mates are ready to dial up their performance levels after blowing away a few lockdown cobwebs.
“It wasn’t quite every ball, I had to go and hit some balls myself at certain points, but I did watch a lot of it,” he said.
“I don’t want to be too much of an armchair critic, sat at home watching the game and not being there, but sure having a game under the belt going into this one will be a help.
“The rhythm of our innings second time around was better, it looked like we were in the game a little bit more.
“That’s what I looked like on TV anyway and I expect that to go up another notch this week. It was a different experience and quite hard in some ways,” added Root.
“You want to be there and you want to be involved and after playing 80-odd games on the bounce it was hard to sit there and watch every ball knowing you can’t really affect things.”
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