Jason Roy will bat at number four at Old Trafford.
Jason Roy will bat at number four at Old Trafford.

Poms change things up as failed opener reassigned

Joe Denly will open for England in the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford with the struggling Jason Roy shifted down to four in the batting order.

Roy has been unable to transfer his explosive batting in one-day cricket to the longest form of the game, scoring just 62 runs in seven innings against Australia's new ball attack.

Denly, who scored a battling half-century in the third Test that helped lay the foundations for his side's miraculous one-wicket win at Headingley, confirmed he will open alongside Rory Burns in Manchester.

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"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.

"Obviously Jason is going to bat four and that's great for English cricket.

"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."

Denly made six and 17 in his only previous outing as an opener, in Antigua in January, but showed his ability to focus and bat time by gritting out an important 50 from 155 at Headingley in what he described as the hardest innings of his career.

His efforts, as well as those of Root (77), have largely been forgotten in the aftermath of Ben Stokes' brilliant match-winning century but he is happy to go under the radar.

 

"It's all a bit of a blur...it's all about the last hour," he said.

"Obviously it was a proud moment but as any top-order batter, you come off after getting out wanting more runs. Having made 50 it would have been nice to go on and get a bigger score, but thankfully we had 'King Stokes' coming in and finishing it for us.

"I don't think it's going to sink in for a while. It was a remarkable day and one that will be remembered forever, so to be part of it was very special."