x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

No surprises in England team for Ashes as Compton fails to shake up things

Opener was among runs in the warm-up games but not enough to move the hosts as Australia are held to a draw by Worcestershire.

Nick Compton made 79 in his last innings against England XI but that was not enough. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images
Nick Compton made 79 in his last innings against England XI but that was not enough. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

England's selectors have already made their only tough call for the first Test against Australia.

Today's squad announcement will therefore be mere confirmation, cruel in Nick Compton's case, of intentions telegraphed 12 days ago.

It was then that England set out their stall, by dropping Compton for their warm-up match against Essex and promoting Joe Root to open alongside captain Alastair Cook – for Nottingham next week at least.

Nothing that happened in Chelmsford or Worcester, where Compton manfully tried to restate his case, but 218 runs from four innings against Australia may not be enough to cause a rethink - a fact ruthlessly underlined by coach Andy Flower after England's 228-run win on Wednesday.

Flower said: "We were pretty clear before this game our team for Trent Bridge. We're clear what our squad will be and what our XI will be.

"I'm not going to talk about individuals, but we're pretty clear about our XI."

Compton was already painfully aware that he was surplus to requirements after his untimely loss of form in the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley in May.

As the bandwagon behind Root's ascent from No 6 to 2 gathered ever more momentum, he scored runs but still a century was missing, Compton's critics might point out.

The suspicion is, though, that would have made no difference and after nine Tests, and approaching 500 runs in the low 30s, at the age of 30 Compton may do well to play for England again.

The opening position aside, Root's move up the order - and the return of a fit-again Kevin Pietersen - leaves another young Yorkshireman in possession of the No 6 spot.

Jonny Bairstow has had precious little opportunity to bat anywhere in any format since impressing alongside Root in their home Test in Leeds.

"Bairstow has had what he has had. There's nothing more we can do," Flower shrugged afterwards.

They may have discarded Compton but will almost certainly stick with Steven Finn, surprisingly dropped during the Champions Trophy, as their third seamer behind Stuart Broad and James Anderson, with Tim Bresnan included in their 12 today as the accustomed insurance policy.

Meanwhile, Australia drew against Worcestershire in their four-day warm-up game.

The hosts held on to be 274 for five when play was called off early after having started the final day's play at 64 for one in chase of 457.

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