Denly confirms switch to number four as Root returns to three for Ashes opener

Joe Denly has confirmed he will drop to number four in England’s Ashes opener, with captain Joe Root replacing him in the top three.

Root is understood to have approached head coach Trevor Bayliss following the Test victory over Ireland at Lord’s and offered to take up his old role at first wicket down when the series gets under way on Thursday.

That is the spot Bayliss has long wanted Root, the side’s best batsman, to occupy and Denly was happy to make it official.

Joe Root returns to number three
Joe Root returns to number three (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“Joe Root will bat at three and I’ll be batting at four,” he said.

“He rang me the other day and told me he wanted to bat three and for me to go in at four. I think Rooty just wanted to get involved in the game, get up there and get out in the middle.

“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.”

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