Tue, 04 Aug 2020

England have dropped batsman Joe Denly for the second Test against the West Indies, returning captain Joe Root confirmed on Wednesday.

Root missed England's four-wicket loss in last week's first Test following the arrival of his second child.

But the star batsman has slotted back into the side for the second Test at Old Trafford starting Thursday.

The 34-year-old Denly was always likely to make way after two low scores in last week's loss at Southampton left him with a modest average of 29.53 from 15 Tests.

Denly's place was put under further threat by an innings of 76 from Kent team-mate Zak Crawley at the Ageas Bowl.

"It's never an easy decision, never easy having to leave someone out," Root told a conference call on Wednesday.

"With Joe (Denly) 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."

The Yorkshireman added: "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."

Last week's victory left West Indies 1-0 up in the three-match series, taking place behind closed doors.

A win in either of the two remaining matches, both being staged at Old Trafford, would see the tourists to their first Test series triumph in England for 32 years.

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