England drop Joe Denly for second Test against West Indies; James Anderson rested

England drop Joe Denly for second Test against West Indies; James Anderson rested

The second Test between both the sides will start from July 16 at Old Trafford, with skipper Joe Root returning to the side.

Joe Denly of England
Joe Denly of England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Surrey CCC)

Hosts England, in the absence of Joe Root in the first Test of the three-match series, suffered a four-wicket defeat after West Indies hunted down the 200-run target on the final day. The Jason Holder-led side stunned the hosts by flagging off their post-coronavirus campaign on a high note, taking 1-0 lead in the series.

The second Test between both the sides will start from July 16 at Old Trafford, with skipper Joe Root returning to the side. Root had missed the first Test at Ageas Bowl to attend the birth of his second child. With Root’s return, England has shown the exit door to Joe Denly.

Denly had batted at No.3 in the first Test and his Kent teammate Zak Crawley had taken the guard at No.4. However, with Root’s return, one of them had to be axed for Manchester Test and England decided to replace Denly with Root.

Root said the decision to drop Denly was motivated partly by Crawley’s performance in the first Test. 34-year-old Zak Crawley gathered an impressive 76 in England’s second innings at the Ageas Bowl.

Denly is someone that’s done a fantastic job for us: Joe Root

“It’s never an easy decision, having to leave someone out. He [Denly] has done a brilliant job over a period of time. He’s helped show our identity as a side and showed how we want to play moving forward, batting a long period of time and laying a platform,” said Root as quoted by Cricbuzz.

“Watching Zak’s progression, his game continually looks to get stronger. Joe is someone that’s done a fantastic job for us and I think he’ll be just as frustrated as anyone that he’s not managed to quite convert those opportunities.

But certainly, the door’s not closed. He’s been a big part of our squad for some time now. He gets if he gets an opportunity to come back again, then I’m sure he’ll be desperate to take it,” added the England skipper.

England is slated to play six Tests in seven weeks. Considering the workload of the bowlers, James Anderson and Mark Wood have been rested. Uncapped Ollie Robinson has been called into the 13-man squad, alongside Sam Curran. Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Chris Woakes, Curran and Robinson will compete for three fast-bowling berths.

England squad: Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes