Joe Root to bat at No 3 for England in Ashes opener at Edgbaston
Watch England take on Australia in the first Ashes Test, live on Sky Sports Cricket (channel 404) from 10am on Thursday
Last Updated: 30/07/19 3:56pm
England captain Joe Root will bat at No 3 in the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston with Joe Denly dropping to No 4.
Rory Burns and Jason Roy are set to open the batting, as they did in last week's 143-run win in the one-off Test with Ireland, with Root moving up from his regular position and above Kent man Denly.
Denly confirmed the move on Tuesday, saying: "Root will bat at three and I'll be batting at four. He rang me the other day and told me.
"I think Rooty just wants to get involved in the game, get up there, get out in the middle and hopefully make a lot of runs. I don't think there's more to it than that.
"I'm very excited. I wasn't too fussed where I'd be batting, it's just great to be in the XI. I've batted at four before for Kent and throughout my career, so it really wasn't a big issue."
Root averages 49.03 in Tests, having scored 6,718 runs in his 81 appearances, but has historically fared better at No 4 in the order.
In 60 innings at No 4, Root has scored 2,736 runs at an average of 48, with seven hundreds, whereas at No 3 he has batted 40 times, scoring 1,538 runs at an average of 40.5, with just two centuries.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann told Sky News that Root should not have been moved.
"I don't agree with Joe going to No 3, to be honest," he said. "He is happy at No 4. He has scored a lot of runs there and should stay there. I don't think you blunt your sharpest point by putting him a different-shaped hole."
Denly, meanwhile, says missing out on a World Cup place helped his Ashes preparations.
The 33-year-old, who bowls part-time leg-spin, was in England's provisional 15-man squad for the tournament but was then replaced by Hampshire's Liam Dawson.
"I kind of thought it might happen in terms of the balance," added Denly. "Dawson is certainly more of a bowling all-rounder than I am, so I thought it was the right decision.
"It was a chance for me to go back and play some red-ball cricket with Kent and get into reasonably good form for this series.
"That was a bit of a blessing in disguise, being able to spend some time out in the middle, get a few big scores and go into this series feeling confident.
"Everyone from a young age dreams of playing in an Ashes series and to finally get that chance, being quite an old campaigner, I'm certainly excited and up for the challenge.
"There's no doubt that the Australian bowling line-up is one of the best in the world. They have all bases covered really and, as a top-order batter, that is where you want to be - testing yourself against the best.
"It took me a while to get back to any kind of form when I got dropped all those years ago. I went missing for two or three years, with all my focus on trying to get back in the England side.
"In recent years I've enjoyed my cricket a lot more. Did I see myself playing in Ashes series? Probably not, but this week is going to be a very proud moment and a very special occasion for me and my family."
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